Leaked report from Montreal public health urges reopening gyms, libraries and museums
MONTREAL -- Quebec's opposition parties are demanding the government release a document from Montreal's health authority that is calling for gyms, museums and libraries to reopen.
The document, obtained by Radio-Canada, says maintaining the partial lockdown in the city risks causing serious health issues for the population.
"We have not yet come to a place where we're comfortable, at the level where we should be," Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said at the daily press conference on Thursday, when asked about tweaking COVID-19 restrictions.
The report contains a few recommendations, aside from gyms, museums and libraries.
It also calls for allowing people from two homes to get together, and allowing public outdoor gatherings with as many as four households or 10 people.
Restaurants didn't appear in the report, except for a suggestion to go back to allowing limited terrasse dining, with no more than two households per table.
No one from Montreal Public Health was available for an interview.
But Montreal's mayor, Valerie Plante, told CTV News that the idea of adjusting restrictions has come up in city discussions -- but she also urged caution.
"I'm definitely open," she said. "I think it would be good for the morale to think about what could be a new normality in a time like this."
On Thursday, Quebec Solidaire called on the government to release the brief while the Parti Quebecois said the province should act on its recommendations.
The Official Opposition Liberals said the government should make a decision on the document's recommendations and explain itself clearly to the public.
Most of Quebec has been moved to the highest pandemic-alert level, under which gyms, bars and entertainment venues are closed and gatherings are banned.
"This is a very difficult balance to strike," said Montreal infectious diseases specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton. Nobody should forget, he said, that the virus really is extremely easily transmissible.
On Thursday, Premier Francois Legault did say the province is considering allowing one-on-one gatherings, and not just for people who live alone.
Quebec reported 1,138 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 28 more deaths, 10 of which occurred in the past 24 hours.
Health authorities said hospitalizations decreased by one compared with the prior day, to 538, and 82 people were in intensive care, a rise of one.
The province conducted 27,326 COVID-19 tests Nov. 3, the last day for which testing data is available.
Quebec has reported a total of 111,056 COVID-19 infections and 6,378 deaths linked to the virus.
--with files from The Canadian Press