OTTAWA -- On the eve of the Easter long weekend, Gatineau and the Outaouais are seeing a record number of new COVID-19 cases.

Quebec health officials reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 in western Quebec on Thursday, the second straight day with more than 100 cases of COVID-19 in the region. There were 100 new cases of COVID-19 in the Outaouais on Wednesday.

The Outaouais region is moving into Quebec's Level 4-Maximum Alert level at 8 p.m. Thursday, while Quebec is imposing a 10-day pause on Gatineau and the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais.

During the 10-day shutdown in Gatineau, all elementary and secondary schools must close, with students moving to online learning. Non-essential businesses must close, including restaurants for in-person dining, salons and gyms.

In a statement, the CISSS de l'Outaouais reminded people that "unnecessary social contacts" are not permitted over the Easter weekend.

"This change of level is necessary due to the significant increase in new cases. Exceptional measures must be put in place to slow the spread of the virus, accelerated by the variants," said the CISSS de l'Outaouais.

Health officials add "adherence to the measures remains our best tool in the short term to get out of the critical situation in which our region finds itself, until enough people get vaccinated."

Here is a look at the special emergency measures that will be in effect in Gatineau and the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais from 8 p.m. April 1 until 5 a.m. on April 12.

  • Curfew in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.;
  • Elementary and secondary schools are closed (e-learning);
  • School-based child care will remain open, but only for essential workers;
  • Educational child care services (daycares, CPEs, family settings) will remain open. However, to limit contact, families are advised to keep their children at home whenever possible, notifying the daycare service in advance;
  • The closing of cinemas, theaters and museums;
  • Closing of dining rooms in restaurants (except for delivery and take-out);
  • Closing of non-essential businesses (curbside delivery and pick-up are possible);
  • Businesses are not allowed to sell non-essential products;
  • A limit of 25 people in places of worship;
  • Outdoor sports or recreational activities permitted only with people residing at the same address or by a group of 8 people with distance.