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Quebec Government Faces Backlash Over New Year’s Eve Curfew

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New Year’s Eve was canceled in Quebec, or a minimum of that’s what number of residents really feel after the federal government imposed a ten p.m. curfew that can go into impact on Friday night time, simply because the revelry was set to start.

The transfer, which provoked an indignant backlash, was the newest try by the province to tame the surging Omicron variant as instances rise and hospitals come below intensifying strain. The authorities additionally banned personal indoor gatherings past members of the identical family, forcing many Quebecers to cancel their New Year’s Eve plans.

Under the curfew, which works into impact at 5 p.m. on Friday, Quebecers might be required to stay indoors from 10 p.m. to five a.m., and those that break the foundations face fines as excessive as $4,750. (There are some exemptions, resembling canine walkers and important employees in hospitals.)

Mr. Legault mentioned Thursday that the measures had been mandatory to guard the province’s well being care system.

“Our experts tell us that there’s a risk that we won’t be able to treat all those who need it in the coming weeks,” he mentioned at a information convention, including that hospitalizations doubled to greater than 900 prior to now week.

Case counts additionally hit a brand new excessive this week: Quebec reported 14,188 instances on Thursday and 9 deaths, in keeping with native public well being information.

The backlash was palpable on social media as many criticized Mr. Legault for restrictions that some perceived as unnecessarily punishing throughout a fraught vacation interval when journey plans had already been upended.

More than 78 % of Quebec residents are totally vaccinated, in keeping with information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, above the nationwide vaccination price of 76 %.

Éric Duhaime, chief of the opposition Conservative Party in Quebec, criticized the federal government in a post on Twitter for failing to supply a scientific research to justify the curfew. Others mentioned the curfew — the one one which might be in place in a Canadian province — would undermine peoples’ psychological well being and violate civil liberties.

Critics additionally accused the federal government of overcompensating after it had been too lax in implementing well being measures. For instance, some supermarkets haven’t maintained social distancing at checkout strains and plenty of outlets haven’t been vetting vaccine passports.

The public uproar was notably acute as a result of it was the second time Quebec had imposed a curfew; the final one, in January, lasted 5 months.

Canada is among the many international locations which have seen the largest surge in new virus instances, which have greater than doubled in per week to a median of greater than 25,000.

Among different new restrictions, eating places are to be closed for indoor eating, the beginning of in-person elementary and highschool courses has been delayed till Jan. 17 and locations of worship are to be closed apart from funerals.

Mr. Legault mentioned the restrictions had been aimed toward defending the unvaccinated from themselves, given the excessive price of hospitalization amongst those that have refused be inoculated. That, in flip, prompted criticism from individuals who mentioned they’d revered public well being guidelines and had been being unfairly punished for the irresponsible conduct of minority of Quebecers.