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Premier Legault Crushes Hope That Restaurants May Reopen Before November 23

Red zone restrictions will remain in place for “at least two more weeks”

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Restaurant owners who remained hopeful that Quebec Premier François Legault might ease red zone restrictions mid-way through the province’s second 28-day lockdown are out of luck. The measures keeping bars closed and restaurants operating on a skeletal takeout- and delivery-only basis will remain in place for “at least two more weeks,” he confirmed during a press conference yesterday afternoon.

At the end of October, the premier extended the ongoing lockdown for an additional four weeks, until November 23, though had said at the time that he would reassess the situation after two weeks and reconsider should there be a significant improvement.

That was not the case: Though it had seemed that the number of new coronavirus cases was stabilizing, there has been an uptick in recent days. The province has been unable to report fewer than 1,100 cases a day over the course of the past week. Yesterday, 1,162 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 deaths were registered in the province.

“Two weeks ago, we promised that we would take stock, and here we are. Unfortunately, the indicators show that we need to be even more careful,” Legault said in a press conference, joined by health minister Christian Dubé and public health director Horacio Arruda.

“I understand that this situation is difficult for a lot of people, but our measures are necessary to save lives, to keep our children in school, to keep our workers at work and to save our health system,” Legault said. “It also gives us a chance to see our friends and family at Christmas.”