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Labour and Employment

COVID-19: Closure of Businesses and Non-Essential Services

At its daily press briefing on March 23, the provincial government ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses and services, effective Wednesday, March 25 at 00:01 a.m.

This exceptional measure, which is in addition to others already in place, will be in effect until April 13, 2020, in order to further promote the containment of everyone and to halt the community contamination of COVID-19.

This announcement is the source of several questions for businesses who are wondering whether they will be able to continue their activities for the next three weeks. Although some elements remain to be clarified, here are the main points of what has been announced.

From the outset, it should be noted that the authorities have published an exhaustive list of businesses which they consider to be essential and which may therefore continue to operate.

In order to facilitate the application of this measure, the government is making available an online form that allows businesses that so desire to be put in contact with an agent who could answer their questions. This form is also intended to allow businesses that consider their activities to be essential to apply to be officially designated as such even though their sector of activity is not on the list that has been established.

In this regard, while it cannot be ruled out that the authorities could decide to expand the list of services and businesses deemed essential, the public health and safety objectives supporting the enactment of this measure will probably limit this possibility.

It is obvious that the new temporary closures announced will have an impact on the management of your business and will raise questions about the assistance measures available, particularly for employees affected by the closures. In this regard, we refer you to the articles published by our team in the last few days that summarize all the solutions that have been put in place.

In closing, let us remember that the measures of prevention and social distancing advocated by the authorities for several weeks now must continue to apply within the businesses and services that remain open. If this has not already been done, management must ensure that the necessary measures are put in place now to comply with the government's recommendations.

For any additional questions and for advice on how to properly manage the current situation related to COVID-19, we invite you to contact our team, who remain on the lookout of the latest developments for you.