Quebec bans alcohol sales in restaurants after midnight as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Quebecers can make a “big difference” in the coming days as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continue to climb, the province’s health minister announced Thursday.

Christian Dubé said the province has been reporting an average of nearly 300 new infections per day over the past week.

“It’s everywhere that we have to be careful,” he said.

Dubé called for caution over the weekend, saying citizens have the chance to ensure the alert level is not raised to orange for their region. There are eight regions in the yellow zone, which calls for early warning.

Quebec is also banning alcohol sales after midnight in restaurants and microbreweries in an effort to curve the spread of COVID-19. Earlier in the week, the government also announced bars can no longer sell food after midnight, a practice that the province’s premier said some used to skirt a ban on alcohol sales after midnight.

READ MORE: Montreal reports 295 new coronavirus cases but majority stem from earlier in the week

The province, which has been the hardest hit by the health crisis, reported 251 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Health authorities say, however, that a total of 499 infections were reported Thursday after hundreds of cases were included from earlier in the week — including more than 200 in Montreal. The regional public health director said there was a backlog in the tally.

As a result, the caseload jumped to 66,356. There have been more than 58,000 recoveries.

Quebec also reported three additional deaths linked to COVID-19 — two of which occurred in the last 24 hours. One death occurred between Sept. 10 and 15.

The health crisis has claimed the lives of 5,791 Quebecers to date.

The number of hospitalizations also increased, by six to 136. Of them, 29 patients are intensive care — an increase of three from the previous day.

In Quebec, 24,112 tests were administered Tuesday. To date, the province has given 1,979,527 tests.

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With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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