With the lovely weather our city was blessed with this weekend, some Montrealers couldn't help but go enjoy the heat by spending their days in various parks around the city. In a normal circumstance, such an occurrence would be fine — but as we know, we're living in unprecedented times. So, during her press conference on May 4, Mayor Valérie Plante spoke to the public about this matter.
"Montrealers were excited about enjoying the good weather," Plante said.
When discussing the high volume of people in Montreal's major parks over the past weekend, the Mayor promised that she gets the need for such greenery in people's lives.
"It's good for our hearts, it's good for our souls," she said.
"I want us to keep an open mind that for many people in this city who don't have a backyard, who don't have a balcony ... parks are very important for their health," Plante said.
Such is a situation that many Montrealers can relate to.
But, she reminded everyone that "we still can't gather — in your yard, in the park, in the grocery store."
A live feed of the press conference in which the Mayor discusses these matters is available below.
Plante promised that the City of Montreal is doing everything in its power to keep all parks open, but in order to do so, the spaces must be "frequented in a responsible way by all Montrealers."
She reminded the public that, just because Montreal will slowly be reopening parts of its economic sectors, it doesn't mean social distancing rules won't continue to apply.
Valérie Plante said she completely agrees with the provincial government's decision to push back the reopening of certain businesses in the Greater Montreal area until May 18, which Premier François Legault announced during his public briefing on May 4.
The Mayor did confirm that in respect to the high volume of people in Montreal parks this past weekend, "the distance of the two metres was [still] generally respected."
But, Plante confirmed that the rule of "no gatherings whatsoever" continues to be in place, and that police forces will continue to patrol the city to make sure this rule is being respected.
"The rule of not gathering is a real rule," she reminded everyone.
So, you must continue to stay two metres away from anyone who you don't live with.
For this reason, new initiatives like the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough's "family-friendly and active streets" are starting to come about.
Pour ce beau week-end ensoleillé, @LePMR a créé trois rues familiales et actives en bordure des parcs Baldwin, De L… https://t.co/FGwZL9wIKB— Luc Rabouin (@Luc Rabouin) 1588428231.0
"The goal is to give more space for pedestrians," Plante said.
The City expects more spaces like these to be created within the upcoming weeks.
The high demand for parks on Saturday, May 2 led the City of Montreal to close access to the parking lots of five major parks.
#COVID19 : Nous fermons les stationnements de certains grands parcs pour favoriser le maintien de la distanciation… https://t.co/WxzJzlweLp— Ville de Montréal (@Ville de Montréal) 1588463787.0
The parking lots for the following parks are being closed for the time being: Maisonneuve, Jarry, La Fontaine, Fréderic-Back, and Île-de-la-Visitation nature park.
Plante also stressed the importance of wearing a protective face mask whenever one is in a situation where proper social distancing cannot be respected.
The good weather is upon us, but our fight against #COVID19 continues. Let’s continue to follow public health guide… https://t.co/n9GqfmuLFy— Valérie Plante (@Valérie Plante) 1588426416.0
Plante has requested that Montrealers start to incorporate wearing a face covering into their daily habits.
"The most important thing for me is the health of the population," the Mayor promised all Montrealers.