François Legault red-zone businesses

Legault promises financial aid, attempts to explain red-zone closure logic

“We will not let you down.”

In a press conference this afternoon, Quebec Premier François Legault tried to reassure the red-zone businesses that are being forced to close from Oct. 1 to 28 — bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, show rooms, museums, casinos, banquet halls and libraries — by promising that financial aid is forthcoming and will be revealed in detail in the days to come.

“Yesterday’s announcement was difficult for many people, and in the coming days we will announce financial measures to help businesses that have to close temporarily,” Legault said. “We will not let you down.”

Legault was asked about the logic of the regulations for red-zone businesses — closing theatres but not retail stores, restaurants but not gyms. He said that COVID-19 transmission research suggests that prolonged exposure — over 10 minutes, especially when sedentary — is of greater concern, whereas being mobile in an indoor space for under 10 minutes is less problematic.

He also noted that the province’s COVID-19 numbers — 799 new infections today — are not encouraging, and pleaded with young people in particular to abide by the new restrictions so as not to infect their parents or grandparents, which would have more dire conferences.

Legault, along with Public Health Director Horacio Arruda and Health and Public Safety Minister Christian Dubé, confirmed that no additional measures or restrictions will be introduced in schools, including mandatory masks.

More details about police enforcement of the new measures in red zones will be announced in a press conference tomorrow. ■

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