Quebec will not close bars as Legault says recent rise in coronavirus cases due to private gatherings

Quebec will not shut down bars again for now, even as the province continues to see a sustained increase in new novel coronavirus cases over the past week.

Premier François Legault said he consulted with public health authorities and that the recent surge in new COVID-19 infections appear to be stemming from private parties and not from bars.

“We will continue to supervise and follow the situation in bars,” he told a crowd of reporters Friday. “It’s very important that employees in bars wear a mask and visors.”

The province will also carry out inspections in bars over the weekend to ensure public health directives are being enforced, added Legault. Masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces beginning Saturday.

He also urged Quebecers to keep private gatherings at their homes to a maximum of 10 people. He said this is an important reminder as the province’s annual two-week construction holiday begins.

“It’s not the time to do this,” he said. “We have to be very careful so that we do not have to be reconfined.”

Read more: Quebec premier says bars could close following recent increase in COVID-19 cases

The decision comes as Quebec reported 141 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 57,142. The province has seen its new daily infections top 100 since July 11.

The health crisis has killed 5,647 to date after one more death was recorded from the previous day.

While Quebec has seen an increase in the number of daily new cases over the past week, hospitalizations have continued to drop.

There are 260 patients in hospital as of Friday, a decrease of 17. The number of people in intensive care has dropped by four to 16.

The province says it conducted 14,952 tests Wednesday, the last day for which data is available.

Quebec remains the province with the highest number of cases and deaths attributable to COVID-19 in the country.

With files from the Canadian Press

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