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Quebec Enters Province-Wide Lockdown, Introduces Curfew



QUEBEC — The Government of Quebec has put in place new restrictions in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which will be in place from January 9 through February 8.

On January 6, Premier François Legault announced a new province-wide lockdown. Under the new measures, an overnight curfew has been put in place from 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. During this time, Quebecers have been instructed not to leave their homes except in cases that justify travel, such as healthcare, humanitarian reasons or to engage in priority work. Further details on the curfew and what qualifies as legitimate travel are expected soon.

During the lockdown, travel between regions and cities is not recommended, with the exception of essential travel, students, workers, shared custody and freight transportation.

Non-priority commercial enterprises must close until February 8. Businesses offering only essential goods and services are exempt. On-site pickup is allowed, as are online orders for delivery and curbside pickup. To comply with the 8 p.m. curfew, all commercial enterprises must close by 7:30 p.m.

Bars and restaurants are closed except for delivery and curbside pickup.

“We are of course relieved to see the Quebec government acknowledge food-delivery services as an essential service by allowing it to continue 24 hours a day, however this brings a larger issue into light, which is the necessity of capping delivery fees charged by third-party apps. They currently charge up to 30 per cent of the sale price, on top of the upfront fees paid by the customer. We would like to see those fees capped at around 15 per cent, similarly to what’s been done recently in Ontario and British Columbia,” a spokesperson for the Association Restauration Québec (ARQ) stated.

For some regions of the province, foodservice operations have been restricted for several months. For example, on-site service at restaurants and bars in Montreal has been suspended since October 1.

“Restaurants are playing a critical role feeding the frontlines — having convenient and reliable meal options has been especially important for first responders and essential service workers, for truckers out on the road keeping our supply chains going, and for anyone who has had to spend time in self-isolation,” Restaurants Canada said in a statement on the new lockdown measures. “Meanwhile, the pandemic is continuing to have a devastating impact on our industry. January is typically one of the hardest months for restaurants and these new lockdown measures will unfortunately take this perennial challenge to a whole new level, after months of restaurants seeing little to no revenue coming in due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.”

“What the industry truly needs is a re-opening date that is set in stone and accompanied by lasting, accessible financial aid that will help the industry beyond just the period of dining-room closures,” the ARQ spokesperson added. “Quebec already has at least 10 per cent of its restaurant owners who have chosen not to renew their food-preparation licenses, which represents 2,000 establishments across the province that are most likely gone for good. We’re anticipating closing 2020 with a $6-billion sales deficit with regard to 2019. Much more needs to be done to support our industry, which has sacrificed so much in the name of public safety, unfortunately without much result. Restaurants are not the problem, they are part of the solution.”