Quebec’s premier shut down restaurants, gyms, while province’s public health advised against their closure in Fall 2020

New public health recommendations from Fall 2020 that were previously confidential were made public today: the memos show that the province’s public health recommended keeping restaurants, gyms, museums, and cinemas open throughout the fall, but the premier ignored the recommendations.

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Quebec Premier François Legault ignored the public health recommendations and shut everything down in early October 2020, newly released documents from the Ministry of Health show.

The documents released on Friday show that Public Health recommended that theaters, cinemas, museums, and restaurants should remain open with COVID-19 guidelines in place.

In the documents, Public Health noted that prolonging the current strict measures too long would lead to a decrease in adherence to the measures.

Restaurants in most parts of the province have been closed since October, a nearly five-month stretch without dine-in revenue.

The province’s public health also recommended opening restaurants in early January while maintaining social distancing and other guidelines. The premier ignored the recommendation.

Most of the public health’s recommendations were kept hidden throughout the pandemic. As they become public, a pattern is emerging of a government that took numerous decisions based on political and media pressure, ignoring the science, and failing to provide any justifications.

Quebec has maintained some of the strictest measures in North America, including a curfew from 8 PM to 5 AM every night since January. The province, along with Ontario, has accounted for most of the 218,000 jobs lost in January throughout Canada.

There is no plan to reopen restaurants and gyms in most parts of Quebec, at least not after the winter break which will end around March 10th, despite the global downward trend in cases and the outright absence of cases in many regions of the province.

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