Premier François Legault began his daily briefing Monday by underlining once again that, while the situation outside of Greater Montreal is "under control," the situation in the metropolis and surrounding suburbs remains "fragile" and "worrisome." But despite that distinction, the Premier encouraged residents to resist divisive sentiments. He specifically addressed fears that Montrealers could infect populations in other regions.

"Frankly, I don't want Quebeckers to start bickering and dividing themselves between Montreal and the rest of Quebec."

"We are all in the same boat together. We all have to stick together."

He explained that he "heard a lot over the weekend from people who do not live in the Greater Montreal area who are afraid that people from Montreal will come down to their area."

Legault rebuked these fears. "If we stay two metres away [from other individuals], as we are doing now, there is no danger that someone from Montreal will come and infect us."

But he further assured residents in outlying regions that "if there is too much movement and there are too many people from Montreal going to the regions, we will not hesitate, with Dr. Arruda, to put instructions in place to prevent that kind of movement."

Quebec began to gradually ease hard restrictions on travel to some regions on May 4.

Though non-essential tips are still discouraged, as of May 11, police have withdrawn road checkpoints from areas in the Laurentides, Lanaudière, Chaudière-Appalaches, Rouyn-Noranda, Outaouais (except for travel between Ottawa and Gatineau), Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie, and Centre-du-Québec.

But the Laurentides region still asks non-residents to stay away. 

"The announcement of the deconfinement of certain regions and the return of good weather will undoubtedly encourage residents of the hot zones to come and enjoy their getaway," the MRC des Laurentides, an organization of 20 municipalities, wrote in a May 4 statement.

"But for the MRC des Laurentides, the message is unequivocal: it is not yet time to hit the road to its territory."

"It is important to remember that although the cordon sanitaire was lifted on May 4, tourist activities and escapades are not yet permitted, so the instruction to avoid unnecessary inter-regional travel deemed non-essential remains fully in effect."

It's a message Vice Premier Genviève Guilbault also made clear when she announced the withdrawal of checkpoints on April 29.

"It's not the time to go for a stroll, or to go to the shops in another region just for fun," she said. 

"We try to avoid travelling, to stay in the region where we live or, in any case, in the region where we are and thus limit our movements, even though they are allowed again for certain reasons."

Stay tuned for more news.

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