In a press conference on Sunday, Quebec Premier François Legault announced the closure of all schools, daycare centres, restaurants, malls and hair/beauty salons until May 1 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
When schools were ordered to close on March 13, March 30 was given as a tentative reopening date. With the rising number of COVID-19 / Coronavirus cases in the province, however, it has become clear that additional social distancing will be required to “flatten the curve.”
Restaurants in Quebec are being asked to close their dining areas but may remain open for takeout and delivery. Legault encouraged restaurants that aren’t doing delivery to do so in order to stay afloat financially.
The only businesses permitted to stay open in malls are pharmacies, grocery stores and SAQs with their own entrances that can be accessed from outside the mall.
There are 38 new cases of COVID-19 / Coronavirus in the province, bringing the total to 219. Legault attributes the rising numbers to increased testing. There are 24 Quebecers currently hospitalized, with 13 in the ICU. Approximately 2,000 people are awaiting test results, while 9,700 have tested negative for COVID-19. There have so far been four deaths in the province, all from the same seniors’ residence.
The province, which is still operating under a public health emergency and has not declared a state of emergency as other provinces have, also officially banned social gatherings of all kinds, indoors or outdoors.
COVID-19 testing at Place des Festivals
The city announced on Sunday that 30 outdoor screening stations with a staff of 300 will be open to the public in the Place des Festivals on Monday morning. Though it is not necessary to call 811 (or the new hotline 1-877-644-4545) before being tested at the new site, those who wish to be tested must have either:
- A cough, fever or difficulty breathing
- Travelled outside of the country within the past 2 weeks
- Been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms and has travelled outside the country in the past 2 weeks
- Been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient
Anyone who meets the above criteria and wants a test can access the site via de Maisonneuve and St-Urbain by foot or by car, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as of Monday, March 23. The STM recommends against using buses or the metro to access the site, for reasons that should be obvious by now. ■
See a list of public places where people with COVID-19 circulated in Montreal on the Quebec government website.
For official info from the Government of Canada on Coronavirus / COVID-19, click here.
Please visit our News section for more updates on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.
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