Is A New Quebec Curfew Coming? The Government Has Called A Press Conference

The press conference is at 5:00 p.m. Thursday.

Senior Editor
Is A New Quebec Curfew Coming? The Government Has Called A Press Conference

Premier François Legault will hold a 5:00 p.m. Quebec press conference on Thursday, December 30 as the province grapples with an ever-increasing number of new COVID-19 cases.

Quebec reported 13,149 new infections on December 29 — shattering the previous daily record, 12,833 cases, reported just 24 hours earlier. The record before that, 9,397 cases, was less than a week old.

It's so far unclear what Legault expects to announce Thursday evening, but La Presse and Radio-Canada have cited government sources to report the province is considering a new nightly curfew.

If indeed the premier makes that announcement, it will have been almost one year since Quebec introduced its first curfew of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Montreal, that curfew lasted more than four* months, from January 9 to May 28, 2021, with nightly starting times fluctuating between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

The restriction became a source of debate in Montreal, namely because of its detrimental effect on the city's unhoused people. A judge, at the start of 2021, ruled in favour of a curfew exemption for the unhoused, despite the premier's reticence on the matter.

Officials have repeatedly refused to completely rule out the possibility of bringing back a curfew amid the latest wave of infections spurred by the highly infectious Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. Legault said as late as December 16 that the government didn't plan to reintroduce a curfew, but warned measures could change as the health situation evolved.

By December 22, health officials reportedly began considering a new restriction on nighttime travel.

The province has already introduced a flurry of new health measures as 2021 comes to a close, including the closure of bars and gyms, a new work from home order and a six-person limit on private indoor gatherings.

Meanwhile, the health ministry plans to begin offering appointments for a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to the whole adult population in January. The last age group, 18 to 24-year-olds, is scheduled to become eligible on January 21.

*This article has been updated.

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