Downtown Remembrance Day ceremony scaled back to private event due to COVID-19
The annual Remembrance Day ceremony downtown is going to be scaled back even further due to COVID restrictions.
As reported by CJAD 800 earlier this month, organizers said they had to downsize the event. The plan was to have about 50 official participants, about 25 wreaths and no spectators at Place du Canada.
That was before the Red Zone Alert that takes effect at midnight in the Montreal Metropolitain Community.
That means the event is now a private ceremony with ten people maximum if not fewer, about five wreaths, and the public still being invited to observe Remembrance Day at home.
"This is exceptional - it's the first time it's ever happened. We hope not to repeat this in the coming year," said Kenneth Ouellet, provincial president of the Royal Canada Legion for Quebec.
Usually hundreds of people show up for the annual ceremony that traditionally includes a military parade, which is also not happening due to the public health regulations.
Ouellet said it's much safer this way for their aging veterans and while there was talk of just scrapping the ceremony altogether,
"We still have to honour our veterans. it's a sacred duty for the legion, it's our mission. I don't think anybody in the legion wants really not to have a ceremony. Some legion branches will not have a ceremony but we still have to pay some honour," said Ouellet.
"You have to adapt. You still have to pay respect."
The poppy campaign will also have to be drastically changed due to COVID rules and some stores having their own restrictions.
Ouellet said they're very concerned about how much money will be raised during this year's campaign for veterans and various support programs.
Ouellet said they're planning on working with retailers to ask clients for donation requests at the check-out and trying to boost online donations.