A group of Quebec doctors has started a petition against the new deconfinement rule that will allow gatherings of 250 people in outdoor and indoor public spaces. The petition, originally circulated around the medical community, has struck a chord with the public and has gained well over 8,000 signatures and counting. As of August 3, 2020, Quebec allows gatherings of up to 250 people except for major festivals and events, combat sports, and vacation camps.
Private gatherings are still limited to 10 people.
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"We are in a period of increasing infections and this is not the time to be playing with fire," wrote Dr. David Zukor, the petition's author and chief orthopedic surgeon at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital.
"We must be proactive and prevent a second wave."
Quebec's decision to allow gatherings of up to 250 people has been highly criticized in both the media and public discourse.
Since the beginning, Quebec has been the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada.
The Montreal Gazette's Aaron Derfel has said that the government is sending "mixed messages" about public gatherings.
From July 28 to August 3, when the rule came into effect, Quebec counted a total of 948 new coronavirus cases.
Public health authorities have already tracked outbreaks in a number of bars since the beginning of July.
In a statement on July 27, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault also noted a "worrying trend" among 15- to 34-year-olds in Quebec.
#COVID19 Aujourd’hui, @GGuilbaultCAQ et moi-même avons lancé un appel aux jeunes adultes : ne baissez pas la garde… https://t.co/LZd0jqfjzM— Christian Dubé (@Christian Dubé)1595878142.0
Guilbault said that young people act as "vectors of transmission" to more vulnerable people even if they don't get sick themselves.
Though people are wearing masks, Health Minister Christian Dubé has asked Quebecers to "remain vigilant" against the virus.
He suggested that officials are already preparing for a second wave.
#COVID19 Au 3 août: + 123 cas | 59 845 + 1 décès | 5 685 - 3 hospitalisations | 169 + 3 soins intensifs | 21 + 9… https://t.co/dBtZMVEngq— Christian Dubé (@Christian Dubé)1596553201.0
"I would like [...] to reduce the number of daily cases [...] to make sure we are ready to start the second wave with a lower number," Dubé said Monday.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, la situation est la suivante: 9 574 prélèvements effectués le 2 août 10 325 analyses réalisée… https://t.co/G6GnAXd1mw— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec)1596553606.0
Next week, Quebec is set to release its plan for the return to school in the fall.