TORONTO — Quebec is returning to a stepped-up lockdown in two of its biggest cities and the premier of Canada's most populous province said he's looking at all options after Ontario reported a record number of new cases on Monday.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the two biggest cities in the Canadian province are returning to the highest COVID-19 alert level. Montreal and Quebec City are included in the "red zone" lockdown. Legault said there should be no guests in homes with a few exceptions for help. He also said restaurants and bars will close except for delivery.
He also said outdoor gatherings require two meters of spacing. He said the objective is to protect schools from closing again. Quebec reported 896 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the province's highest single-day tally in months.
"This situation has become critical," Legault said. "We must act strongly right now."
The measures will last from Oct. 1 to Oct. 28. Legault said there is a lot of community spread right now.
Both Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the provinces are in a second wave. Ford called the 700 new daily cases in his province extremely troubling. Of Monday's cases, 344 were reported in Toronto,
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said Ontario must work to flatten the curve of the virus again to allow hospitals to respond without being overwhelmed.
Williams said people became too casual as virus numbers improved and restrictions were relaxed in late August, and he urged them to now be more vigilant. The latest figures prompted Ontario's hospitals to call on the government to reinstate restrictions.
The Ontario Hospital Association said the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa should move back to Stage Two of the province's pandemic response, which saw restrictions on non-essential businesses like restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters.