In a press conference at 5pm EST today, Premier François Legault announced the anticipated and expected lockdown restrictions—and, believe it or not, some permissions—to affect Montreal and the rest of the province of Quebec: In-person office working would end where possible, schools at every level, and non-essential businesses would be required to close in the coming days.
"After discussing with public health authorities, we’ve decided to announce a holiday pause until January 11, so we’re announcing new rules," Premier Legault said. There will be inspectors and an increased police presence to enforce these new rules.
What sectors are being affected by the new lockdown restrictions?
Offices: As of December 17, office workers (with some exceptions) will be required to work from home from December 17 to January 11, "except for jobs where attendance is essential" Legault said, citing the public sector as an example.
Schools and daycares: Secondary and primary schools will close from December 17 to January 11 as well; daycare centres will stay open, "but we ask parents to keep children at home as much as possible," the Premier urged. "Daycare in schools will only be accessible for people working in priority services."
Zone shifts: Leagult went on to say that parts of Quebec not currently in a red zone would be shifting into a higher state of emergency; yellow zones will transition to orange, and orange into red.
Retail: As for non-essential businesses, they will be closing from December 25 to January 11. "Big stores such as Walmart or Costco won’t be allowed to sell non-essential products," Legault said. "It’s a matter of equity for small businesses."
Personal services: Personal services that have remained largely unaffected since reopening like hairdressers, masseuses and tattoo artists will also have to close from December 25 to January 11.
"We think that these measures will give us every chance is to protect our hospitals and our health workers," the Premier said to end his statement. "We're in the last stretch."
Complete lists of what is considered a "non-essential business" would be released tomorrow on December 16, the Premier said.
When asked when the Quebec government would reassess the situation regarding these renewed lockdown measures, the panel responded that the 5th of January was the most likely date for reassessment.