Although details of the measures are not yet known, Christian Dubé, Quebec’s Health Minister, announced that Montreal and areas of Quebec City will be upgraded to Red Alert this week. Red Alert is the highest level of the Quebec’s Regional Alert System. During an interview on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle talk show, Dubé confirmed the two regions will be upgraded ‘in the coming days’. The announcement came after 896 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the province on Sunday September 27th, the highest single-day count since May 6th, when 1036 new cases were reported.
“I think we’ve reached that point,” he said. “Montreal and Quebec City are the hardest hit areas at the moment. They’re very close to the red… we’re there and we have to act because people are expecting us to be transparent… the message is going to be to stay at home.” He repeated his call for Quebecers to cancel any plans they had for the next 28 days and to not socialize.
Concerning the measures that would be into place under the Level-4 Red Alert, Dubé said the he had ‘the difficult task of finding a balance in order to allow children to continue to go to school, for people to continue working and for certain businesses to remain open’. Jean-Francois Roberge, Quebec’s Minister of Education already said on September 18th that schools in the province would remain ‘mostly’ open during a second wave of the pandemic – even in Covid ‘Red Alert’ areas, that ‘only certain schools would need to close their doors’ and then ‘only temporarily’ in the regions that are under the ‘Red Alert’ designation. Dubé did not confirm if bars would again have to close, but did suggest it, “When I tell you that we are going to make difficult decisions, it is a very difficult one. It was okay to keep the bars open a month, two months ago. But right now, we need to make an effort…” He then explained that they are ‘working on finalizing those details over the coming hours’ and that ‘the priorities’ would also be ‘allowing people to work, maintaining a minimum of commerce’, as well as ‘containing outbreaks and protecting hospitals’. Check back with the Montreal Times for updates.