• The agglomeration of Montreal has extended the local state of emergency for a period of five days.
  • A statement explains that the declaration gives the agglomeration "exceptional powers" to deal with the pandemic.

Montreal is extending its state of emergency for a period of five days. The announcement was made via a statement posted to the city website. The extension applies to the whole territory of the agglomeration of Montreal, including the metropolis and on-island suburbs.

"The state of emergency grants exceptional powers to the urban agglomeration, enabling it to face the current pandemic across its territory," the statement reads.

"It also enables the urban agglomeration to mobilize the necessary resources and workforce to fight COVID-19 and provides the latitude required to respond efficiently to ensure the wellbeing of its population."

When she initially announced the declaration on March 27, Mayor Valérie Plante explained that the state of emergency empowered the city to be more responsive to the needs of the homeless population, specifically.

Since then, the city has established a number of additional daytime and nighttime shelters.

The state of emergency does not mean that the city is in confinement or under lockdown, though the Mayor has asked that residents remain in their own neighbourhoods if they have to leave their homes.

Premier Legault has also requested that no one leave or visit Montreal, which has been dubbed the "epicentre" of the outbreak in Quebec.

But though the city is not under a stay-at-home order, residents are subject to strict social distancing measures.

All gatherings are banned and individuals who are not members of the same household must maintain a two-metre distance from each other.

Failure to comply could result in a fine of between $1,000 and $6,000.

The Mayor has also threatened to close public parks if Montrealers openly disregard social distancing rules.

Already, several public spots have been closed to avoid crowds.

Quebec is approaching the projected peak of the outbreak on April 18.

In total, public health officials are expecting between 1,263 and 8,860 deaths, based on scenarios released Tuesday.

Stay tuned for more news.

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