Quebec Tightens Rules for Malls, Stores Amid High COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations

Quebec Tightens Rules for Malls, Stores Amid High COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations
Quebec Deputy premier and Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, on October 23, 2020 in Quebec City. Levis mayor Gilles Lehouillier, left, and a reflexion of Quebec City mayor, right, Regis Labeaume look on. (The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot)
The Canadian Press

MONTREAL—Quebec public health authorities are introducing new rules for shoppers in malls and other stores during the busy holiday season amid growing COVID-19 concerns.

Deputy premier Genevieve Guilbault made the announcement today in Quebec City, saying businesses will have to enforce strict limits on the number of people allowed inside beginning Friday.

She says the maximum capacity will be set depending on the store’s total surface area, and that number must be clearly posted.

Distancing and the wearing of masks must also be enforced for clients waiting in line, and Guilbault says those not respecting the rules could be subject to fines of between $1,000 and $6,000.

Enforcement will fall to mall owners and store owners, she said.

On Tuesday, Premier Francois Legault said the province’s plan to allow for two gatherings during a four-day window around Christmas could be in peril as the number of hospitalizations in the province reached its highest point since June and new infections remained high.

In the province’s so-called red zones, the high number of cases prompted the government to close bars, restaurant dining rooms, gyms and entertainment venues beginning Oct. 1.

Guilbault cited images of packed shops and malls as the reason behind issuing the decree.

“We want stores to remain open but not become a supplementary source of contagion,” she said.