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The North Country Chamber of Commerce is working with a number of area companies and interests to help determine and deal with cross border impacts from the announced shutdown of most activity in Quebec as of Saturday. The province-wide shutdown and curfew is to be in effect until February 8. The details were announced by Quebec Premier Francois Legault at 5:00 p.m. today. The provisions mostly mirror those imposed in Quebec during its first shutdown last year, requiring all non-essential businesses to close and imposing a curfew daily from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. during which time people are only to be on the streets for work or essential purposes.

"We have been in active communication with the Quebec Government in recent days and are assured that there will be no interference with essential personnel commuting across the border," reports Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "This happily includes the hundreds of Quebec doctors, nurses and health care professionals who are a vital part of the North Country's health care system."

"We also welcome a provision in the Quebec guidelines that will open the door for manufacturers there to carry on 'priority' work," notes Douglas. "Many of our North Country manufacturers and other businesses depend on cross border supply chains, so hopefully interruptions of these connections can be avoided in most cases. We know that several of our Quebec based companies are working to clarify what activities can be regarded as priorities, and we have been told by the government that they do not want to interrupt manufacturing supply chains. We also have area businesses dependent on the Port of Montreal, as well as rail and trucking across the border, and we are told these shipping and transportation activities will continue."

On another related impact, Douglas notes that the Quebec shutdown, which follows an existing shutdown in Ontario, "does not bode well for the removal of border crossing restrictions anytime soon, possibly pushing our hopes for some relief off longer. It is certainly something we will continue to stay on top of in both Washington and Ottawa."