City to deploy more inspectors to oversee Montreal's reopening on Monday
By Amy Luft, CTV Montreal
Montreal is preparing its plan to reopen stores on Monday with new inspectors and help for businesses to reorganize and follow health guidelines.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said in a Thursday afternoon news conference that 60 inspectors would be visiting businesses to create awareness and increase prevention measures, including recommending masks and ensuring customers and staff maintain physical distancing. Those inspectors would work in collaboration with workplace safety board (CNESST) inspectors.
Plante said the city has partnered with Architects Without Borders, who will help businesses reorganize their shops and create a free adaptation guide in June.
The city is also ramping up its distribution of face masks. Plante said the city has already distributed some 20,000 masks, primarily in hotspots, including Riviere-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montreal North, Cote-des-Neiges-NDG, and Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
Masks will be provided to members of the city’s homeless population as well as in food boxes for those who visit food banks.
“It must be part of our habits to protect ourselves and others,” said Plante, urging people to continue maintaining a two-metre distance, but when it’s not possible, to wear a face mask. In the case of single-use masks and other protective gear, Plante reminded Montrealers to dispose of them and not contribute to litter.
Plante said Montrealers will have more freedom of their movements as of Monday, but should still continue to try to limit the frequency of shopping, and respect the health and hygiene guidelines.
Decrease in cases, hospitalizations 'encouraging'
There are now 23,064 cases in the city, an increase of 328 in the past 24 hours. There were 45 new deaths, bringing the city’s total to 2,411, said Montreal’s director of public health Mylene Drouin.
The city has seen a reduction in the number of hospitalizations and intensive care cases in the last week, said Drouin, calling the decrease “quite constant" and "encouraging."
“We’re in the descending path,” said Drouin.
The public health official pointed to increased testing in hotspots and encouraged anyone who is displaying symptoms or who was in close contact with a COVID-positive person, or a person displaying symptoms, to visit a mobile testing unit or neighbour testing site. Tests are free and don’t require a health care card, she said.