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Mayor Tells Public Not To Panic & Says COVID-19 Is 'No Excuse For Discrimination' (Video)

"Coronavirus is no excuse for discrimination and inappropriate gestures."

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante met with the media in Chinatown Thursday morning to announce the city's plans for the coronavirus outbreak. She assures the population that public workers are evaluating the situation and taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Montreal. "The situation is evolving rapidly and the virus is spreading quickly. We’ve already cancelled some international events and we’re taking this seriously."

"The city is in constant contact with health experts from the federal and provincial governments," said Plante. 

What's most important for the mayor is that the city doesn't fall into a panic. She also mentioned that far too many people are using the situation as an excuse to be discriminatory. 

"It’s important that we follow the health recommendations and to respond to the situation without falling into panic," she said.

"It’s clear that fewer people are visiting Chinatown and it’s affecting the merchants here. The coronavirus is no excuse for discrimination and inappropriate gestures."

If you think you have symptoms, Mayor Plante recommends that you contact 811 or go to an emergency clinic.

Still, you shouldn’t clog up the emergency rooms if you have a common cold.

"Our health care system needs to stay fluid so our doctors can conduct the necessary tests," said the Mayor. 

Major Events

The Government of Quebec has announced a ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people.

In Montreal, the city is in the process of making decisions. 

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"We need to evaluate whether the events are indoor or outdoor, the number of attendees, or is it an event that can expose vulnerable people such as the elderly. We have to consider all these elements," said Mayor Plante. 

"I've asked all boroughs to provide a list of all upcoming events in the next few months so that we know how to proceed in the future."

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Will The City Shut Down? 

Mayor Plante and her administration are taking it on a case-by-case basis, but it's unlikely that the city will completely shut down anytime soon. 

"If we close the city, we have a responsibility to ensure our population that our services and our plans are ready to take on a potential spread of the virus," assured Mayor Plante.

"We'll wait for the recommendations from the ministry of health and services."

Closing schools would require provincial government approval, therefore, no Montreal schools are closed as of yet.

What About Public Transit

While the risk of contracting the virus is still extremely low, the STM and other public transit authorities are taking measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus

"Closing the STM would be a question of how many people will assemble. We're evaluating different scenarios," explained Mayor Plante. 

"For example, asking the company to change its work hours so that there are fewer people in public transport. We have also asked the STM to clean the buses and metros every day and though that might be complicated, we're doing our best to limit the spread of the virus."

A cancellation of public transit services would require provincial government approval.

Stay tuned for more updates on COVID-19 in Montreal right here on MTL Blog.