Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante teases summer COVID-19 plan but offers few details
MONTREAL — With the weather getting nicer in Montreal, Mayor Valerie Plante on Tuesday teased a summer plan that will allow Montrealers to enjoy their city while staying safe but declined to give concrete details.
Plante said the plan would include strategies for what would happen in the city’s public spaces, such as parks, as well as guidelines for day camps and other activities for children and families.
Plante reiterated her call for Montrealers to maintain a distance of two metres between each other when outside their homes and said people looking to enjoy the weather in a park should head to one close to their homes.
“It’s nice to have sun, it’s good for your heart and soul and body, and it’s tempting to take advantage of it,” the mayor said.
Plante also called on Montrealers who find themselves in situations where physical distancing is difficult to wear a face covering, adding that those face coverings are a complementary measure and are not meant to replace others such as hand washing and maintaining physical distance.
Plante also announced the city had obtained 50,000 reusable face coverings which will be distributed among vulnerable populations by community groups.
She noted the upcoming summer will be highly unusual, with all major events and festivals already cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public health director Mylene Drouin said guidelines on day camps would be issued by the provincial government but said if they do reopen, they would include numerous preventive measures.
The summer plan will also likely include contingencies for a heatwave, given the unlikelihood that swimming pools and air-conditioned spaces will return to normal.
“We’ll have to be creative on how we want to fight those heat waves and offer fresh places for people to cool down,” said Plante.
Drouin also addressed the provincial government’s recently released plan to reopen the city’s schools on May 19, saying “I think we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Drouin said the city is working with school boards to figure out plans on how to move forward with school reopenings safely.
“I think schools also have challenges with density, with setting up prevention measures of everything having to do with cultures, language barriers, understanding the guidelines, food safety. There’s a series of issues.”