If experts welcome new “courageous” measures announced by Quebec on Wednesday, teachers, traders and other observers denounce the inconsistency in the government’s rhetoric in recent days, which they say is contributing to “destabilizing” the population.
“It is sad and sad to be there, but the safety of people remains the priority. We just feel that there are teachers outraged by the inconsistency of decisions in recent weeks,” sums up the president of the Federation of Education Unions (FSE), José Scalabrini. In Quebec City, Gatineau and Levis, schools will be closed until April 12, in an effort to limit the growth of variants. “Last week, when we learned that in the red zone, students from grade three to high school will return to school full time, we asked why we don’t wait for the changes to come. But no, it was wall to wall, then we will come back further,” She said with sorrow.
In the Independent Education Association, President Sylvain Mallet is second. The government should stop playing two steps forward and two steps back. Yes, the situation is not easy, but since January we have been calling for a game plan on the variables, ”he insists. We are destabilizing the network. There are students who will only return to school for one day full time.
“It will take a lot of reorganization,” agrees Nicolas Prevost, president of the Quebec Federation of Educational Institution Directors (FQDE). “When you have 48 hours to respond, it leaves room for maneuver, but there are 24 hours more difficult. Tomorrow, especially in Quebec, we have schools on Education Days. They haven’t organized themselves to switch to the default,” he says.
In Levis, Mayor Gilles Lhuillier said he is particularly concerned about non-essential businesses, which will also have to close in the three targeted areas. The government had no choice but to act. If it has an expanse, it won’t close. On the one hand, there, implementation becomes more difficult, ”he asserts. Every two months, the Lévisiens companies lose a total of a billion, according to the city of Lévisiens.“ It’s huge, ”says Mr Lowellier. Despite the financial aid that Quebec promised to affected merchants, “Most of them told us that they don’t give them anything anymore, and that they don’t have any more money.” Business “The Chosen One says.
I hope that after April 12th, we will be able to reopen our business. In the meantime, we need to speed up vaccination. In Chaudière-Appalaches, we get about 1,000 doses a day. You have to triple this to reach the June 24th goal.
Gilles Lowellier, Mayor of Levis
In the office of Quebec’s mayor, Regis Laboum, it is indicated that we will not respond to announcements at this time. A conference could take place on Thursday. “The Crisis Unit analyzes the advertisements and discusses the procedures,” said press officer Francois Moissan. The mayor of Gatineau, Maxime Bideniod Gobin, is also expected to speak to the media on Thursday, after a meeting with MRC governors.
For UQAM virologist Benoit Barbu, the decision to “pause” Levis, Quebec and Gatineau is “courageous”. “I am amazed that they have come this far. I welcome this decision. We had to act very aggressively.”
But for Mr. Barbu, the government had to apply the same rules to the red zones. “We understand that gyms and spas will remain open. I don’t understand that in the middle. We could have been more cruel, if we had the same everywhere and sent a clearer message.”
At the Montreal School of Public Health (ESPUM), specialist Roxane Borgès Da Silva also welcomes these new restrictions. “We cannot afford indolence. Now I hope it will have an effect. With the Easter holidays, it is expected that people will not respect the measures. This neglect may lead to re-containment in other areas,” she warns.
Frustrated and powerless merchants
This government is improvised. He created this problem due to his inefficiency, ”said Jean-Francois Transon, owner of Club Chaussure stores. According to him, merchants are being punished because of the rapid reopening of gyms and restaurants in the affected areas.“ We find ourselves on Groundhog Day, except that the situation is More difficult every time companies are forced to close, comments Francois Vincent, Quebec Vice President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). It is difficult for the spirits. ”
The CFIB and the Chambers of Commerce of Quebec and Levis require the government to quickly send assistance to merchants who have to close their doors, with notice one day in advance. They demand that aid be sent directly to companies and not have to go through a complicated government system.
“Help must arrive tomorrow. You have to understand that restaurants were full on Easter,” says Marie-Jose Morense, executive vice president and general manager of the Chamber of Commerce in Levis.
What did they say …
François Legault had to take strong action. However, his government should ramp up screening and vaccination efforts.
Dominic Angelide, Leader of the Liberal Party
Scientists and health workers have been warning the government since February. How did Francois Legault, in the same week, defend the return of full-time high school students and announce the school closures?
Gabriel Nadu Dubois, Quebec Solidere spokesperson
The government was forced to act after it refused to see the direction and denied the clear again yesterday. The backbone of the war in lobbying is the consistency of the messages.
Joel Arsino is a health critic at Party Quebecoa