In a press conference this afternoon, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced a partnership with Architects Without Borders and an increase in workplace safety board (CNESST) inspectors to help retail stores adapt to physical distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures after they reopen on Monday, May 25.
“There’s been a financial contribution to Architects Without Borders of $150,000 to really support businesses in terms of the inside of their stores so they can follow the rules established by the public health authorities,” Plante said. “They will be creating an Open Access Adaptation Guide that will be available to everyone.
“There will be an additional 60 CNESST inspectors in the field, including firefighters and food inspectors, to increase awareness about prevention measures and to make sure social distancing is respected in businesses.”
Plante stressed the importance of sticking to physical distancing and hand-washing guidelines as Montreal retail stores reopen, and to wear masks as much as possible, especially when maintaining a two-metre distance from others is not possible. She noted that the city has already supplied 20,000 masks within “hot zones” (including Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Montreal North), and will distribute thousands more to the city’s homeless population.
Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin said that the COVID-19 curve is flattening gradually, based on encouraging numbers showing a decrease in hospitalizations and ICU cases last week. Drouin encouraged anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to visit the city’s mobile testing sites — appointments and health cards are not needed (find more details here).
Despite the provincial government’s new stance on outdoor gatherings, Plante discouraged Montrealers from flocking en masse to enjoy the summer weather we’re having right now.
“It’s beautiful outside and it’s really tempting to all rush to the parks, but please, it’s important to keep your distance,” she said, adding that parks “can’t be the only place where Montrealers can go.”
“We’re working really hard towards putting together a circuit that will allow Montrealers to walk and bike.”
“We’re all together in this big adventure,” Drouin added, in reference to stores reopening, “and we have to respect the recommendations and see if we can stop community spread. It’s important to go back to normal life and normal activity in the city and we have to stay united and stay vigilant in respecting the public health recommendations.” ■
See our feature interview with Valérie Plante here.
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