Legault proposes moral contract for Christmas

By Matthew McCully
Legault proposes moral contract for Christmas

Quebecers can have gatherings of up to 10 people between Dec.24-27 over the holidays, but they will have to sign on the dotted line of a moral contract before sending out party invites.
Premier Francois Legault said he is counting on people to agree to limit their contact the week before and the week after the four-day gathering window to make sure what happens at Christmas, stays at Christmas.
As for the idea of extending the Christmas break for schools, Legault said online learning days will be tacked onto the break, so it will be considered teaching time and not extra vacation.
As of Thursday, Dec.17 elementary and high schools will shift from in-person classes to online learning for the two to four days left before the break, depending on the school board. For the return to school, elementary students will return to in-person classes as planned between Jan 5-7, while secondary students will resume with online learning until Jan. 11.
Employers are asked to encourage telework wherever possible, and businesses are asked to pare down activities anywhere possible before and after Christmas.
Specialized schools will stay open, Legault said. On the days when schools move to online learning, daycare services will remain open for essential workers only, mainly healthcare workers, teachers and daycare staff.
“There’s an if to what we’re proposing,” Legault said. If the situation continues to deteriorate and the stress on the health system becomes too great, the Christmas moral contract will become null and void.
Regarding other red zone measures currently in place, Legault said there are still too many cases of COVID-19 confirmed daily, so restaurant dining rooms, gyms and concert venues will remain closed until Jan.11.
Quebec reported 1,207 new cases Thursday, bringing the total number of people infected to 128,440. There were 34 new deaths, for total of 6,744. The number of hospitalizations decreased by 1 compared to the previous day, for a cumulative total of 651. Among those, the number of people in intensive care increased by 1, for a total of 101.
The Estrie region reported 66 new cases Thursday for a local total of 3,841.
Long-term care facilities continue to be added to the CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS outbreak watchlist.
Most recently, a second sector of Sherbrooke’s Hôpital et centre d’hébergement D’Youville has a new outbreak of less than five residents. A similar outbreak was declared at the Centre d’hébergement Villa-Bonheur in Granby, involving up to five employees and residents.
An outbreak of 10 cases (seven residents, three employees) was declared Thursday at the CHSLD Vigi Shermont, a private subsidized facility in Sherbrooke.

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