Authorities in Quebec say they prefer that bars and restaurants follow public health directives instead of being forced by the government to collect the personal information of their patrons in case of an COVID-19 outbreak.
“We aren’t there yet,” Premier François Legault told reporters Tuesday when asked about requiring private businesses to keep a register of customers. New Brunswick, for example, requires bars, restaurants and other venues to collect such data to make it easier to trace people after an outbreak.
“Maybe in places like bars, if there is spread of the virus, we can ask for a register to trace people who were in contact with infected people,” Legault said. “But our first wish is for people to respect the two-metre rule and that there is no spread.”
On Monday, Legault’s health minister, Christian Dubé, threatened owners of bars and restaurants with closure after reports that some in the Montreal area weren’t following public health guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s director of public health, told reporters Tuesday that forcing businesses to collect the personal data of their patrons is not the Quebec way of doing things — for now.
“We could look at that,” he said, referring to a register. “We aren’t in the same culture of (collecting) personal information of individuals.” Arruda, like Legault, said he would prefer businesses just follow the rules.
On Monday, regional health authorities on Montreal’s South Shore said infected people who went to a bar in the area last week were tied to a cluster of 20 cases. In response to the outbreak, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced Monday her council would pass a bylaw requiring mask-wearing in indoor public places.
Legault said he wasn’t ready to give the same order province-wide. And he questioned how that Montreal bylaw would be applied.
“How would we do that in stores?” he asked, regarding the bylaw’s enforcement. “It’s something I’d like to discuss with (Plante).”
Meanwhile, Quebec reported 13 new deaths Tuesday attributed to the novel coronavirus, for a total of 5,590. The province said nine of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours, while another four occurred before June 29.
Quebec also announced 60 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 55,997, including 25,458 cases that are considered recovered.
After posting a slight increase Monday, health authorities said hospitalizations diminished by 30 patients, for a total of 347. Among those in hospital, 26 patients are in intensive care, an increase of one.
Public health authorities conducted 5,318 COVID-19 tests on July 5, the last day for which data is available, representing a significant decrease compared with the past week.View link »