COVID-19: the tobacco industry, an essential service, according to the government Legault

COVID-19: les cigarettiers, un service essentiel, selon le gouvernement Legault

Despite the closure of the majority of Québec companies, the cigarette manufacturers are part of what are considered essential services and their factories will continue to be operated during the pause of three weeks, passed by the government Legault.

In effect, the plants of JTI-MacDonald corp., on Ontario street in Montreal and Rothmans, to the centre of Quebec city, are pursuing their activities normally, in the midst of a crisis of coronavirus, was able to see The Log.

The government Legault says he has wanted to avoid the creation of an illicit market, such as the one that prevailed in Quebec in the 1990s.

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“This is a public health issue similar to the one surrounding the alcohol or the cannabis. We want to avoid cutting off the source of supply of tobacco in grocery stores and convenience stores, and as well encourage smuggling,” says the press secretary of the minister of Agriculture.

Measures for employees

In Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, it was confirmed that the Quebec plant “will continue its activities”.

“All the businesses that provide inputs or raw materials required for priority services were considered essential, including Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, which supplies the grocery stores and convenience stores,” explains the director of public affairs for Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Jeff Gaulin.

However, only employees directly involved in the production are present at the factory, others work from home, to the extent possible.

“All employees with a particular risk (aged more than 60 years of age, pregnant and having pre-existing health problems) were invited 10 days ago to stay at home and are normally paid, even if they can’t work from home”, adds the company.

The employees that were present, them, must “continuously maintain a social distance of two metres between them.”

Notice the vapor, however, their suppliers will need to remain closed. The director-general of the Association Québécoise des Vapoteries feared, moreover, that consumers are turning to the cigarette. “Most of them are going to start smoking again,” says Valerie Gallant.