Gym owners -- and clients -- who defy COVID-19 rules will be fined: Legault
MONTREAL -- A day after a coalition of gym owners threatened to reopen in defiance of COVID-19 rules, Quebec Premier François Legault made it clear that he's not negotiating.
"We'll ask the police to give fines... to these gyms," he said in a scrum with reporters on Tuesday, specifying that anyone who showed up to work out would be ticketed, along with the businesses themselves.
Legault said the same on Monday, but he added a new detail today -- that he plans to pass a decree on Wednesday to make sure the punishment is clear.
On Monday, a group of 200 owners of gyms, yoga studios, martial arts studios and other fitness centres said they planned to reopen on Thursday unless the government provided data showing gyms had been linked to outbreaks.
This was followed by signs of support from two camps. First, some restaurant owners echoed the complaint by asking the government either to show their dining rooms created an infection risk, or to let them reopen.
Then, this morning, the opposition parties all attacked the Legault government, saying it needed to justify its COVID-19 restrictions publicly because Quebecers won't follow rules blindly.
Liberal leader Dominique Anglade said people's trust would slowly erode along with Quebec's "social peace."
Legault said he has little patience with threats from restaurant or gyms, or with the idea the government hasn't been transparent. He also slammed his political opponents for supporting their rebellion.
"I don't think it's responsible of the opposition not to support the measures," he said.
Legault said he doesn't believe there's a widespread problem with public trust.
"The vast majority of Quebecers understand that right now we can't open restaurants, that we can't open gyms, that there's a big risk of contagion," he said.
"All the information we had, we gave. The situation evolved," he said.
"I think there's no one who could say we're not transparent, that we don't respond to your questions. We respond to questions regularly."
Legault was also asked about what he foresees after the next 28 days are up, and whether he thinks people will be able to broaden their social circles in time for the holidays.
He said he thinks it's a possibility if the newly doubled lockdown succeeds in driving down infection and death rates -- and if international traffic stays low.
"The most important thing is that Trudeau doesn't open the borders," Legault said, criticizing Ottawa for being slow to shut borders down in March.
"This time we have to take no chance and let the borders [stay closed] at least until the end of the year," he said.
"For Christmas, I really hope and I'm confident that in 28 days, we'll be able to have -- maybe not big parties for Christmas, but we'll be able to see our families."