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Curfew to curtail COVID-19 might worsen public mental health, morale

First responders transport a resident from a long-term care facility in Montreal on Nov. 20, 2020. Photo: Ryan Remiorz/ The Canadian Press

(Sharon Kirkey/ National Post) — Putting people under curfew, prohibiting them from leaving their homes without a defensible reason, doesn’t do a lot to brighten their sense of solidarity — that “all in this together” spirit, says clinical psychologist Steven Taylor.

While they sang out from balconies and rooftops during Italy’s springtime COVID-19 quarantine as a show of national resilience, “I’m not sure that’s going to be feasible during the cold winter nights in Quebec,” said Taylor.

Canada’s first overnight pandemic curfew, which comes into force in Quebec as of 8 p.m. Saturday, will add yet another level of stress for people already growing weary from the grind of it all, Taylor and other mental health experts say.

“Whenever you do these kinds of things, you want to pick your battles, pick your target, help people understand what you’re trying to accomplish, and lay out what that is,” said Brett Thombs, a professor in the faculty of medicine at McGill University, who’s struggling to find a rationale for Quebec’s 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. check-in. (…)

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