Fall shutdown would be ‘catastrophic’ for Quebec economy: Legault

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Another shutdown because of the pandemic would be a “disaster” for the economy, according to the Coalition Avenir Québec government, which is already thinking about new programs to help businesses.

“We don’t see it happening, but indeed, it hurt a lot, closing businesses in the spring, so we don’t want it to happen this fall,” Premier François Legault said on Wednesday. “It would be catastrophic.”

Legault was reacting to comments made earlier by Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.

“Economically speaking, it would be a disaster,” Fitzgibbon had said. The current $15-billion deficit would also increase significantly, he said.

As stricter measures to slow the progress of the pandemic in Quebec loom, Fitzgibbon is already predicting a “difficult fall” even if there isn’t another shutdown.

He fears a cascade of bad economic news, business closures and worse.

“There must be no hemorrhaging,” he said in the hallways of the National Assembly.