Sherbrooke bars in hot water as coronavirus cases continue to rise

By Gordon Lambie

The Sherbrooke police (SPS) say they had to intervene this weekend at two local bars where patrons were not respecting the current health and safety regulations.
According to the SPS, officers had to step in at le Figaro on Galt Street East around 2 a.m. Saturday morning because the bar was hosting a karaoke night. On site, officers observed loud music, a DJ, and a large gathering of people outside the main entrance. Inside, some fifteen customers were not following public health guidelines.
The second intervention came on Sunday night at le chat noir on King West where patrons were not maintaining physical distancing, and many were dancing in close contact without wearing masks.
Police spokesman Martin Carrier says the two bars are owned by the same person, who may face fines for violating public health guidelines.
The Quebec government has urged people to be extra vigilant and follow public health guidelines after a recent karaoke night at a Quebec City bar was linked to dozens of COVID-19 infections.
The regulations regarding the operation of bars and nightclubs has changed since their initial reopening. At this point in time, bars must stop selling alcoholic beverages at midnight instead of 3 a.m. and customers must also have left bars not later than 1 a.m.; Capacity is limited to 50 per cent of the capacity indicated on the business’ liquor licence; dancing is prohibited and customers must be seated to consume alcohol; and bar owners are required to establish a register that records customers’ contact information or have a group of customers designate a person to facilitate epidemiological follow-up in the event of outbreaks.
The news comes at the same time as the daily numbers for new cases of COVID-19 has climbed back above 200 for the first time since early June. On Saturday, September 5, the province reported 205 new cases, and on Sunday September 6, the number was 216. This brings the total bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 63,713. The number of hospitalizations increased to 105, but the number of people in intensive care as a result of the disease remained stable at 18. The number of deaths connected to the coronavirus provincewide increased just slightly to 5,770 over the weekend.
After several days in a row of double-digit reporting in the Eastern Townships last week, the numbers slowed down a little bit over the weekend. A total of 19 new cases were confirmed from Friday to Sunday, bringing the local total up to 1,335, 1,132 of whom are now considered recovered.
The CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS did not provide any further information about the local outbreaks that are under supervision over the weekend, but as of the last update on Friday another 22 cases had been confirmed in the Ascot District (for a total of 88) and new cases had been confirmed at the Cegep de Sherbrooke, and the École Quatre-Vents (located in the Ascot district.)

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