While Quebecers might have thought they were completely out of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last few weeks have proven otherwise. As people flocked to bars in the Greater Montreal area, some have become outbreak sites. Public Health said it has been able to identify four bars linked to possible outbreaks.

This was made possible thanks to the effort to test people who had frequented Montreal bars since July 1. At some testing sites, a massive turnout resulted in hours-long waits.

On the Island of Montreal, outbreaks have occurred at Le Minéral and Le Renard, both located in the Village, as well as Nacho Libre, located in Rosemont.

The fourth bar is the Mile Public House, located in Quartier Dix30 in Brossard, which has already made the headlines for attracting large crowds at the beginning of July.

Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault explained that "out of last week's caseload, there were 667 cases reported" and that, of this total, 113 claimed to have visited bars.

Dr. Richard Massé of Public Health clarified, however, that though "people say they go to bars [...] that doesn't mean that this is where people acquired COVID-19."

He added that these are events that are "small, but the number of infected people can be quite large."

Of the 113 infected, 65 have visited one of the four bars named by Dr. Massé and eight others are still under investigation.

On July 10, the bar La Voûte, located in Old Montreal, reported that a COVID-19 infected patron had visited its establishment.

It should be noted that all of the bars mentioned above have indicated via their respective Facebook pages that they have closed for a few days to allow their staff to be tested and the establishments to be disinfected.

Although the construction holiday has just begun, the situation remains stable in Quebec, officials say.

The government decided last week to keep bars open despite some outbreaks.

Still, officials have said they are "concerned" about private gatherings of more than 10 people — in defiance of public health rules — in recent weeks.

This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.

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