Quebec’s future over the next few months raises more questions than answers

Return to normalcy will have to wait a little longer with new mask restrictions put in place

With the third wave ramping up in Quebec, new restrictions will be the norm for weeks to come. Graphic Joey Bruce

Premier François Legault announced in a press conference on April 13 that masks will become mandatory at all times for people that are not from the same household.

Exceptions to this rule include when walking by yourself or with people you live with, as well as picnics where people are spread out two meters apart.

The provincial government says the main reason for implementing stricter measures is due to a rise in COVID-19 variant cases.

Just a week prior, Legault announced the curfew’s return to 8 p.m., sending shockwaves around the province and raising questions about what the future holds.

"I understand the measures are changing a lot, but the situation is changing a lot as well," Legault said.

The move was heavily criticized by a sizable portion of the younger population, with many taking to social media to voice their displeasure, culminating in anti-curfew protests in the Old Port of Montreal over the weekend.

Joe Tabbah, a Finance major at Concordia, has been very vocal on social media about his displeasure with the government’s handling of the situation.

“Small business owners have been closed for 10 out of the 13 months and can’t pay off their debts meanwhile Costco, Fairview and Carrefour Laval are packed all day,” he said.

Recent data has shown 1559 new confirmed cases and people aged 20-29 accounting for 15.4 per cent of cases in the province.

"I don't want to say anything other than we are very grateful for what younger people have done for the past year," Legault said. "Right now, it is your health that is at risk."

Legault also announced that the province should only expect a return to normalcy once the vaccines become available for the entire population, which is still currently on track to be by June 24.

“Everyone who wants to be vaccinated by June 24 will be able to be vaccinated. So that means we have 73 days left. 73 days and after that, it’s going to be summer,” he said.

Montreal schools and non-essential businesses will remain open but Legault believes it isn’t “impossible” that more restrictions can be added over the next several weeks.

"Obviously, we want to keep schools open as long as possible, but it is not impossible that, in the coming weeks, in very dense regions like Montreal and Laval, we will have to go further," he said.