Construction and manufacturing sectors reopen in Quebec amid COVID-19 pandemic

Monday marked another step in Quebec’s gradual reopening as elementary school children filtered back into their classrooms, and the construction and manufacturing sectors resumed their work across the province. 

All types of construction sites in Quebec – including residential, institutional, commercial, industrial, etc. – will pick up where they left off mid-March, and manufacturing companies will start up again provided that less than 50 people can work at the same time. Employees who do administrative tasks will continue to work from home. 

“Today, we are allowing the opening of all construction sites and all manufacturing companies, an important step in the reopening of our economy,” Pierre Fitzgibbon, the province’s minister of economy and innovation, said in a press release. “Joining the opening of retail stores outside of Greater Montréal, this restart is essential to ensure that Québec returns to prosperity.” 

The government’s decision to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic sparked criticism as cases continue to rise in Quebec – but Premier François Legault said he won’t hesitate to shut things down again if need be. 

On Sunday, Quebec health authorities announced that 142 more people died from COVID-19 in the province and 735 new confirmed cases were reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 2,928 and total cases to 37,721. The number of deaths reported from Saturday to Sunday was more than double the amount reported between Friday and Saturday.

As construction sites reopen, 300 inspectors from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) are being deployed to ensure employees are able to follow public health recommendations, which are outlined in a guide on the CNESST website. 

“In every workplace the watchword will be: keep on protecting ourselves and each other,” said Jean Boulet, Quebec’s minister of labour, employment and social solidarity. “I expect the return to work to take place in an orderly manner and with strict respect for the health measures prescribed by public health authorities.” 

The gradual reopening of these sectors was originally scheduled for May 4, but was postponed due to the rampant COVID-19 situation in the province. 

As for elementary schools, those outside of Montreal reopened on Monday, at a limited capacity and with public health guidelines in order. Montreal schools are set to reopen on May 25. 



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