Quebec tightens rules for bars to limit coronavirus outbreaks

Quebec is clamping down on bars in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, including limiting hours and restricting the number of people in establishments.

Health Minister Christian Dubé and Dr. Horacio Arruda, director of Quebec public health, unveiled the new regulations during an update on Thursday afternoon in Montreal.

As of Friday, bars will be mandated to stop serving alcohol at midnight and customers must leave by 1 a.m. As part of the plan, establishments must only operate at 50 per cent of their capacity and customers must be seated.

“Expanded numbers of police officers will be placed in proximity to busy areas,” said Dubé. “We need everyone to work together on this.”

Earlier this week, Dubé said he wouldn’t hesitate to shut down establishments that fail to uphold public health directives such as social distancing.

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Following a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a bar on Montreal’s South Shore, authorities had been looking at additional measures to contain the virus.

Dubé has also insisted business owners and the public have a responsibility to uphold regulations to keep people safe as the pandemic continues. Bars were given the green light to reopen in late June but with several conditions in place.

The health crisis has killed 5,609 Quebecers to date. Six new deaths were reported on Thursday, though four fatalities occurred before July 1.

The province, which remains the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, recorded 137 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of people infected to 56,216

There are 308 people in hospital, a decrease of 23 from Wednesday. Of them, 27 patients are in intensive care.

4:26Encouraging social-distancing in Quebec’s bars

Encouraging social-distancing in Quebec’s bars

With files from the Canadian Press

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