COVID infections have peaked, schools back and curfew ends Monday: Legault

Premier François Legault at Thursday's press conference.

Premier François Legault made numerous announcements at a press conference Thursday, including the end of the current curfew and a return to in-person learning at schools, both starting Monday Jan. 17

• New COVID infections have peaked, and hospitalizations are expected to rise and then peak in the coming days followed by a significant decrease. "This is good news," the Premier said. "The measures we have put in place and all the sacrifices we made had an effect on the number of infections."

• All Quebec schools will open for in-person learning Monday Jan. 17, and young children will have to wear masks for the time being. "Remote education isn't the same," Legault said. "There are the issues of addiction to screens and mental health issues. It's important for young people to see teachers again. Some parents and teachers may be worried, but Omicron is a completely different situation. The new variant has much less impact on young people. We will also continue to distribute rapid test kits. Children with COVID will isolate for five days, and it's the same with daycares."

• The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew ends Monday. ”The reason we instituted it was to stop the exponential growth of infections and hospitalizations," Legault said.

• Sunday Jan. 16 is the last Sunday non-essential businesses have to be closed.

• Beginning Jan. 24, vaccination passports will be required in stores that are 1,500 square metres and larger, such as Canadian Tire, Walmart and Costco. but not grocery stores and pharmacies. Legault asked for patience regarding the reopening of restaurants, movie theatres and other venues.

• Regarding the controversial potential health financial contribution for those adults who choose to be unvaccinated, the Premier said the vulnerable, such as the homeless and those with mental health issues, will not be penalized. The issue will be presented in the National Assembly in early February, debated and voted upon.

"We're looking to tell people who choose not to get vaccinated, there is a price to pay."

Legault concluded by asking for patience and prudence.

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