Rising temperatures have led to an increase in the number of people flocking to Montreal parks. But as more people head out to enjoy sunny skies, Legault is cautioning against a widespread abandonment of public health guidelines. At his press briefing Tuesday, he made clear that "if the contagion restarts, we'll have to put the [brakes] on the reopening and put Quebec back on pause."

"We are going in the right direction, but now it's not the time to stop all our efforts. I'm counting on you all."

He encouraged Quebecers to keep their distance from other individuals and to wear masks while taking public transit.

"It's no time to let our guard down. The virus is still there."

The subtle warning came one day after Legault acknowledged that he, himself, had witnessed "groups of five, six, certainly, that were within two meters" of each other in Montreal parks.

He also announced Monday that the government is moving forward with the May 25 reopening date previously established for Montreal-area retail shops with their own entrances from the outside.

The Premier additionally signalled that public health authorities are evaluating the possibility of permitting group gatherings.

"I can tell you that I ask this question every morning, including this morning, to [National Public Health Director] Dr. Arruda in our preparation, and Dr. Arruda has told me in the next few days that we should be able to have a clearer indication of the gatherings."

These announcements Monday were the clearest indication yet that government and public health officials are now satisfied with the trajectory of the outbreak in the Montreal metropolitan community (CMM) — a situation the Premier previously called "worrisome" and that Dr. Arruda said Tuesday is still "fragile."

This Wednesday marks the reopening of national parks and the resumption of some sporting activities across the province, including the CMM.

And last week, municipal leaders outlined a plan to convert hundreds of kilometres of streets into more pedestrian and bike-friendly paths in anticipation of an active summer public realm.

Legault's warning on Tuesday, however, appeared to temper any enthusiasm.

The coming days and weeks, it seems, will be critical in determining the path forward for Quebec and especially Montreal.

Stay tuned for more news.

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