Quebec government faces backlash over New Year’s Eve curfew.
New Year’s Eve was canceled in Quebec, or at least that’s how many residents feel after the government imposed a 10 p.m. curfew that will go into effect on Friday night, just as the revelry was set to begin.
The move, which provoked an angry backlash, was the latest attempt by the province to tame the surging Omicron variant as cases rise and hospitals come under intensifying pressure. The government also banned private indoor gatherings beyond members of the same household, forcing many Quebecers to cancel their New Year’s Eve plans.
Under the curfew, which goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, Quebecers will be required to remain indoors from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and those who break the rules face fines as high as $4,750. (There are some exemptions, such as dog walkers and essential workers in hospitals.)
The backlash was palpable on social media as many criticized Mr. Legault for restrictions that some perceived as unnecessarily punishing during a fraught holiday period when travel plans had already been upended.
More than 78 percent of Quebec residents are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, above the national vaccination rate of 76 percent.
Éric Duhaime, leader of the opposition Conservative Party in Quebec, criticized the government in a post on Twitter for failing to provide a scientific study to justify the curfew. Others said the curfew — the only one that will be in place in a Canadian province — would undermine peoples’ mental health and violate civil liberties.
The public uproar was particularly acute because it was the second time Quebec had imposed a curfew; the last one, in January, lasted five months.
Among other new restrictions, restaurants are to be closed for indoor dining, the start of in-person elementary and high school classes has been delayed until Jan. 17 and places of worship are to be closed except for funerals.
Source: NY Times
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