National Post (Latest Edition)

Stores top workplace outbreaks in Montreal

- Linda Gyulai

MONTREAL • Retail stores are seeing the largest number of workplace COVID-19 outbreaks among employees on the island of Montreal, according to new data provided by the Montreal regional public health department.

As of Tuesday, 98 employees in 38 workplaces were confirmed to have COVID-19, all traced back to their place of employment, the figures show.

The single largest category of establishm­ent where workers were exposed to the novel coronaviru­s as of this week is stores, which account for 10 of the 38 active workplace outbreaks on the island.

The public health department provided the breakdown of workplace cases on Wednesday in response to a request by the Gazette.

The department defines “outbreak” as two cases or more.

A separate category called “other commercial and personal services” accounts for 17 active outbreaks. However, the category includes everything from bars to hair salons and gyms.

Four restaurant­s and one bar on the island have active outbreaks among workers, according to the figures. Two gyms on the island also have outbreaks.

Industries are furious after Premier François Legault’s announceme­nt on Monday that restaurant­s, bars, theatres, cinemas, museums, libraries and casinos were being ordered to close for 28 days as of Thursday in the greater Montreal region, Quebec City and the Chaudière-appalaches region because they’re now declared red zones under the province’s COVID-19 alert system. The Associatio­n Restaurati­on Québec accused the government of scapegoati­ng restaurant­s, which will be permitted to offer only takeout and delivery, because the spread of the virus is mostly in homes.

Schools, gyms, hair salons and other businesses are allowed to remain open.

Among the other figures provided by the Montreal public health department on Wednesday, two “metal product” manufactur­ers on the island have workplace outbreaks.

One active outbreak was recorded in each of the remaining categories: public works and building constructi­on; public administra­tion; food and drink industry; furniture and furnishing­s industry; communicat­ions, energy transmissi­on, public services; printing, publishing and related activities; teaching and related services; finance, insurance and real estate business; and medical and social services.

The company names and locations where workplace outbreaks have occurred are confidenti­al, said Jean Nicolas Aubé of the Montreal public health department, said. He also said he was unable to provide a further breakdown of outbreaks in the category of “other commercial and personal services,” such as hair salons.

 ?? CHRISTINE MUSCHI / REUTERS ?? As COVID cases rise, Quebec has ordered restaurant­s, bars and casinos to close for 28 days starting Thursday.
CHRISTINE MUSCHI / REUTERS As COVID cases rise, Quebec has ordered restaurant­s, bars and casinos to close for 28 days starting Thursday.

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