Quebec closes bars, gyms, schools, casinos, and more amid soaring COVID-19 cases

Schools will revert to remote learning at least until Jan. 10

The Quebec government has slammed the door as COVID-19 cases soar ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s break.

The province announced it is closing casinos, taverns, bars, gyms, theatres and schools as of 5 p.m. Monday.

Quebec’s Health Minister said the situation was critical, and added schools would be closed until Jan. 10, and remote learning could be extended further into the month.

Hair salons and personal care services can remain open under new measures.

Restaurants can do business at 50 per cent capacity between 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Teleworking will be mandatory where it’s possible and for people who cannot work from home, they must respect physical distancing and wear a face mask at all times.

Social gatherings at homes will remain unchanged at 10 people, though people are urged not to gather with those who are unvaccinated and to still keep their gatherings small.

On Monday, the province reported 4,571 new COVID-19 cases and nearly 400 people are now in hospital being treated for the virus.

Unlike in Ontario, where people aged 18 and older were able as of Monday to book an appointment for a COVID-19 booster, the current age limit for a booster shot in Quebec is 60 and older. The head of Quebec’s mass vaccination rollout said Monday that the province is focusing on health workers and other vulnerable populations, but added more people will be able to book their appointments “as soon as possible.”