Outside Montreal, socially-distanced crowds flock to newly reopened retail stores

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by Rob Lurie and Amy Luft, CTV Montreal

Stores in regions outside of the Montreal area reopened their doors to customers on Monday, as Quebec begins its efforts to restart the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Laurentians city of Saint-Sauveur, a slow and steady trickle of customers made its way into local shops Monday morning, with some shoppers waiting outside to respect provinicial public health guidelines.

Nobody is being forced to wear masks there, but stores are limiting clients, using hand sanitizer and ensuring shoppers and workers maintain their distances.

Some shop owners said they are very happy to open their doors again, even if they don’t have a lot of customers. Shoppers said they were happy to visit local businesses, despite a few concerns.

“I’m more worried about people from Montreal and Laval coming here then I am about people from the area,” said one shopper.

Stores in the Montreal area were set to reopen on May 11, but Premier François Legault pushed back the opening by a week during his press conference on Monday, citing a high number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations as part of the reason. 

The reopening has been cause for concern for some as the province currently has the highest numbers of cases per capita in Canada, at 373.23 per 100,000 or 31,865 confirmed cases. Quebec also announced a daily increase of 892 new cases and 69 deaths on Sunday, bring the total deaths to 2,205.

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