Non-Essential Businesses Closed: The government has ordered all nonessential businesses to close by March 24 at 11:59 p.m. until April 23 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province. The full list of essential businesses that may remain open can be found here.
Economic Aid: The Québec Government announced a $2.5 billion aid package to help businesses experiencing liquidity problems. In addition, the premier announced Hydro-Québec will not charge any penalties for unpaid hydro bills. The province announced that emergency financial support of $2 million will be paid to the Food Banks of Québec in an effort to support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Québec Premier François Legault announced that the provincial government is working quickly to find flexible economic measures to support small and medium sized businesses in all regions of Québec. The measures being reviewed include:
- Providing financial assistance of $ 2,000 to very small businesses that benefit from the small business deduction.
- Decrease the threshold eligible for government assistance for businesses from $ 50,000 to $ 10,000.
- Increase and anticipate additional assistance to citizens with the solidarity tax credit to quickly provide access to cash.
Québec’s Minister for Seniors and Caregivers, Marguerite Blais, announced the Government of Québec will provide $133 million of emergency assistance to resources for seniors and individuals with specific needs in an effort to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Minister Charest, Education and the Status of Women, announced an additional $10 million to the Support to Volunteer Action Program. The investment will offer increased support to community organizations that provide services to the province’s most vulnerable.
Closures / Restrictions: Employers have been asked to be flexible with scheduling to allow employees to avoid rush hour on public transit and to create better social distancing practices for workplaces that are still open.
Québec’s Minister of Tourism, Caroline Proulx announced, effective immediately, the closure of tourist accommodation establishments until further notice. Exempt from the closure are particular campsites hosting snowbirds with no other accommodation options, as well as hotels.
The government is enacting restrictions on free movement within the province to combat the community spread of COVID-19. As of 4:00 p.m. EDT, police officers in the province will have roadblocks in place to restrict access to vulnerable regions including Bas Saint-Laurent, Saguenay – Lac Saint Jean Gaspesie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Abitibi-Temiscamingue Côte-Nord, Northern Québec, Nunavik, and Cree territories around James Bay.
The Québec government is banning all non-essential inbound travel to North Lanaudière today at 12:00 p.m. EDT. Healthcare workers, humanitarian support and individuals needed to keep the supply chain running will remain permitted. Additional checkpoints will be deployed at four new regions in the province, including the Outaouais health region, Laurentians health region, Lanaudière health region, and the Mauricie and Center-du-Québec health region.
Employee Supports: The government also announced a temporary aid program for workers who are in isolation due to COVID.
COVID-19 Countermeasures: Québec’s Minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, alongside Minister Fitzgibbon, Economy and Innovation, announced that the government will purchase 300,000 protective visors manufactured by the Bauer company. Production is expected to start next week, and projections show that 10,000 to 15,000 visors will be sent to the network the first week, and 40,000 to 50,000 for the following weeks.
Education Minister Jean-François Roberge announced the launching of The Open School as an online education portal for parents to teach their children everything from math and science to daily physical exercise here.
Premier François Legault announced an emergency decree to give tenants 30 days to pay their monthly rent. The decree prevents the application of the penalties provided for in the lease and prevents any recourse before the Régie du logement. The grace period will provide financial flexibility to individuals until the financial assistance announced by the federal government materializes.