Quebec premier orders stores to close Sundays to give workers a break


C-stores and gas stations are exempt

In an attempt to give frontline retail workers a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec Premier Francois Legault on Monday ordered most of the stores still allowed to operate to close on Sundays during the month of April.

The premier gave his newest directive as the province reported its biggest one-day spike in confirmed COVID cases - 590 positive tests - bringing the provincial total to 3,430. Health authorities also confirmed three additional deaths compared with the day prior, for a total of 25.

Legault said he didn't think closing big grocery stores for one day a week would put a strain on them during the six other days that they are open.

Quebec only permits businesses the province deems "essential'' to remain open during the pandemic. Legault ordered all non-essential businesses closed until April 13. Shopping centres won't open their doors until May 1.

"It will be an opportunity for our workers to get some rest,'' Legault said. The only stores that can remain open seven days a week are convenience stores, pharmacies, gas stations and restaurant take-out counters.

Legault also called on people to leave masks and other protective equipment for those who need them the most.

Apart from rationing protective equipment, the province is looking at ways to wash and reuse them.

Health Minister Danielle McCann called for judicious use of masks as the province tries to procure more amid a world shortage. She has said there have been incidents of thefts at hospitals.

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