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Quebecers should brace themselves for no Christmas family gatherings: opposition

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: What will it take to save Quebec’s promised holiday gatherings?' Coronavirus: What will it take to save Quebec’s promised holiday gatherings?
WATCH: Quebec is still hoping it will be able to save the celebrations allowed for four days during the Christmas holidays despite increasing numbers of hospitalizations. The premier will make a final decision on Dec. 11. But as Global’s Raquel Fletcher reports, opposition parties are questioning whether the government is doing everything it can to make family gatherings possible – Dec 2, 2020

Premier François Legault said the province will make a final decision by next Friday, Dec. 11, about whether to allow family gatherings, but the Liberal opposition said if Quebec bans Christmas gatherings, it is reneging on its side of the moral contract it proposed two weeks ago.

“The major question that we have is: are we still doing everything we can?” asked Liberal MNA André Fortin.

Read more: Holiday gatherings on the line as coronavirus hospitalizations soar in Quebec

The premier originally said Quebecers could hold up to two family gatherings between Dec.  24 and 27 as long as they self-isolate for one week before and one week after.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Quebec’s holiday gatherings plan at risk as hospitalizations rise' Coronavirus: Quebec’s holiday gatherings plan at risk as hospitalizations rise
Coronavirus: Quebec’s holiday gatherings plan at risk as hospitalizations rise – Dec 1, 2020

Now, that’s looking less and less likely as the number of daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to rise.

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“Quebecers, generally, in a majority way, are following the rules. They’re holding up their end of the contract. Is government holding up their end of the contract? Are they putting the odds on their side? Are they putting ventilation in schools? Are they making sure that all their health-care professionals are protected, that the virus isn’t going into our long-term residences?” asked Fortin.

Read more: Quebec tightens measures for shopping malls, stores to limit coronavirus spread

Québec solidaire (QS) also said the government is not doing enough to protect health-care workers.

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“More than 2,000 of them are missing on the front line right now because they are getting sick,” said QS house leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. On Tuesday, Legault confirmed that there are more than 6,500 employees in the health-care system who are currently on sick leave.

However, he said if the government is still waiting until the end of next week to make a final decision, it means not all hope is lost.

“Personally, I still have hope that we’re going to save Christmas this year,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Legault says province awaiting info from feds on COVID-19 vaccines' Coronavirus: Legault says province awaiting info from feds on COVID-19 vaccines
Coronavirus: Legault says province awaiting info from feds on COVID-19 vaccines – Nov 26, 2020

The leader of the Parti Québécois is not so optimistic.

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“We see a government that is already sending signals telling us ahead, ‘You should prepare. We’re going to break the moral contract. Brace yourself,'” said Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Psychologist Pierre Faubert said most Quebecers are probably already preparing themselves to not be able to see family at Christmas.

“Whether we have gatherings or not, this is going to be a unique Christmas….It’s soliciting our creativity,” he said.

Dr. Faubert added that even if we can’t have gatherings, Christmas marks a time of year when the days are getting longer. He said we can focus on that as a metaphor for slowly coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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