Quebec is implementing new restrictions in shopping malls and stores to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus across the province.
Public Security Minister and Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault announced tighter measures Wednesday, citing the high number of COVID-19 cases and an uptick in shoppers amid the holiday season.
“We have to respect the rules and ensure these places do not become places for transmission,” she said.
As of Friday, there will be a maximum number of clients permitted in shopping centres and stores, depending on their size. All stores must post clear signage about the limits as well.
Guilbault said many businesses already implement limits on the number of customers due to the pandemic, but not all do.
“We want to uniformize this,” she said.
Masks and physical distancing of two metres must also be enforced and respected in those businesses, Guilbault added.
Under the plan, Guilbault said work and safety visits will intensify in those places to ensure public health measures are being enforced. There will be a boost in police presence as well.
When asked if they had plans to close shopping centres and stores to contain COVID-19, Guilbault said the government doesn’t want to do that and that is why they are adding new rules.
“It’s a very important time for them,” she said.
The restrictions come as the province weighs whether it will allow Quebecers to see each other over the holidays later this month — after initially providing a plan for Christmas.
In November, the province had given the green light to two gatherings during a four-day period from Dec. 24 to 27, so long as people voluntarily quarantined the week before and after.
On Tuesday, Premier François Legault said he was concerned about the high number of new coronavirus cases and a rise in hospitalizations. He will make a final decision about Christmas gatherings on Dec. 11.
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