By Gordon Lambie
Faced with what he called a “critical” situation in the province with the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Premier Francois Legault announced the restart of several new control measures.
“I need to start by saying that I do not have good news,” the premier said.
As of Monday, capacity for businesses will be reduced to 50 per cent, and the capacity for places of worship and concert halls will be capped at 250. Places of worship will now also be required to check vaccine passports.“High risk activities” such as office parties, karaoke, and public dancing will be banned until further notice, and the plan to increase the capacity for private gatherings to 20 as of December 23 was cancelled, with the cap being maintained at 10.
“Even at ten people, we need to be very careful,” Legault said.Elementary schools will return to class on the planned date, but high school students, as well as those enrolled at the CEGEP and University level will be in online learning until at least January 10.Sports activities will be allowed to continue, but all tournaments and competitions are cancelled until further notice.
Despite having hesitated to make changes to the province’s measures in the face of rising concerns about the new Omicron variant, the premier said that the about face was due, in part, to indications that the number of hospitalizations in the province will continue to rise, and the fact that the number of new cases expected for Friday’s report is expected to be around 3,700.The Province of Quebec reported 2,736 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of people infected to 474,478. The number of active cases increased to 17,400, more than 5,000 more than there were a week ago.
There were 305 hospitalizations reported province wide on Thursday, with 63 people in intensive care. The province also reported five new deaths, for a total of 11,627.In the Eastern Townships the INSPQ recorded 1,609 active cases, two fewer than in Wednesday’s report. The number of people in hospital in the region increased to 35, with five in intensive care.
Classes were also cancelled for all students at Massey Vanier High School for Friday, and students were instructed to bring home any items they may need in the event that the remaining two days of classes are moved online.