Opposition parties urge Quebec to protect orange zones as coronavirus restrictions lift

The Legault government needs to reconsider measures in areas transitioning from red to orange zones, according to opposition parties, who say the current rules leave several regions vulnerable.

On Wednesday, Premier Francois Legault announced new coronavirus measures for the province.

Under the new rules, some regions will no longer fall under the province-wide red-zone classification. In six areas where the virus is less present, restaurants and gyms will reopen, and indoor sports will resume.

These regions are Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord and northern Quebec.

There will be no roadblocks around these areas, and police will not give tickets to people entering those areas from elsewhere, according to Legault.

Without more restrictions, nothing will prevent people from the red zones from spreading the virus into orange zones, said Quebec Solidaire spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois on Wednesday.

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon wants the Sûreté du Québec to issue tickets to people who travel to an orange zone without a valid reason.

As spring break approaches, Plamondon is also calling on the government to prohibit people in red zones from renting cabins in orange zones.

Quebec Liberal Party Leader Dominique Anglade agreed that restrictions must be put in place to protect areas with fewer active cases.

Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault, however, said today that police have their hands full keeping tabs on returning travellers in quarantine and monitoring whether people are following the provincewide nighttime curfew.

-- This report from the Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 3, 2021.

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