The lockdown, described as tougher than the shutdown of Quebec in March 2020, comes with an overnight resident curfew and extends the closure of non-essential businesses through to February 8.
The 80-member Quebec Mining Association said it welcomed the fresh restrictions on travel in a statement this week. The members were relieved of the government’s decision to enable the continuation of mining and exploration operations, partially because of the industry’s vigorous steps in the first wave of the pandemic.
Site entry controls and other risk reduction measures have been adopted by mining companies. Some also set up private laboratories to perform screening tests.
“The results of the measures implemented speak for themselves: it is possible to operate our mines safely. With its decision to maintain mining activities, the government has come to the same conclusion, which is reassuring for our industry and the economy of several regions,” said Josee Methot, CEO of QMA.
“This decision is consistent with all of the government’s rhetoric that the mining sector will be one of the cornerstones of the province’s economic recovery.”
The association said the initiatives helped preserve the foreign competitiveness of Quebec’s mining industry.
Quebec has so far reported 220,518 COVID cases and 8,562 related deaths, according to data from the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 1.9 million infections and 16,600 associated deaths have occurred across Canada.
With record numbers of new infections reported daily, the second phase of the pandemic is intensifying.