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Starting today, the Quebec government is reimposing a partial lockdown in three of the province’s most infected regions, as they entered the “Red Zone” of Quebec’s second wave response plan.
The new lockdown, which applies to the greater Montreal, Quebec City, and Chaudiere-Appalaches regions will last for a minimum of 28 days. This is as the provinces seek to “flatten” the second wave curve.
The restrictive measures for regions in the Red Zone include the closure of Bars, casinos, concert halls, cinemas, museums and libraries, and restaurants. When asked about the fact that there have been no outbreaks in Quebec restaurants, libraries, or museums, Premier Francois Legault simply said “there is community transmission”.
The Red Zone lockdown also includes a complete ban of private gatherings, and a fine of $1000 for those who violate that rule.
'Telewarrants' now a reality
To be able to enforce these new unpopular restrictions, the province is giving police the ability to obtain telewarrants, these would permit them to enter people’s private homes to enforce the government’s lockdown order.
Premier Francois Legault told reporters at a press conference that a system has been set up by his government to allow police to quickly receive a judge signed warrant if they suspect that an illegal private gathering is taking place.
While Quebecers in the affected regions are not allowed to have visitors at their homes, an exception has been made for essential services like caregivers and maintenance workers.
Another new restriction that's part of the Red Zone lockdown is mandatory masks at protests, which has left some to wonder how this will impact the province’s growing anti-mask movement. Police will be giving out hefty fines to those who don't comply with the new rule.
Quebec, a province of 8.4 million, currently averages 740 new coronavirus cases per day. Premier Legault says that his new lockdown will ensure that schools and lives are protected. Quebec’s top doctor Horacio Arruda added that his job is to protect people’s health and not the economy.
Restaurant owners in the three regions, which are home to the majority of Quebec’s population, are completely devastated. Many say they are unsure if their businesses will be able to survive this second lockdown.