At a press conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Valérie Plante announced that a state of emergency is in order for the territory of the agglomeration of Montreal. The declaration comes at the request of Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda, who previously called the city a "hotspot" for the novel coronavirus in the province. Earlier Friday, Premier François Legault said that, as a result of the outbreak on the island, no one should leave or visit Montreal unless it's "very necessary."
However, the Mayor reiterated that this does not mean that the city is under a confinement order or quarantine.
"No, the city is not under lockdown [...] Not today, not tomorrow," she said.
"If this happens one day, it will be at the request of the Government of Quebec and the Public Health Department."
"And if it happens, it will be done in a coherent and orderly way. We are not at that point at all."
"But we have now reached a point where we need to adopt exceptional powers in order to be more responsive," she explained.
The Mayor specifically underlined the need for more resources for the homeless in light of the crisis.
"At this moment the most vulnerable in our society need us."
"The prime minister has asked us to stay at home, but [...] what does this mean when your home is actually the street?"
#COVID19 : Nous franchissons aujourd'hui une étape importante dans notre lutte contre le coronavirus. À 16h, nous a… https://t.co/XcFEQhTR3Z— Valérie Plante (@Valérie Plante) 1585339826.0
Among other measures, the city is prepared to open more temporary shelters in the coming days "to cope with the reduced number of beds in shelters."
"This health crisis can not become a social crisis," the Mayor said.
Meanwhile, non-essential services across the province are closed until April 13.
All gatherings are banned and the SPVM is prepared to issue tickets to residents who do not respect social-distancing guidelines.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, en date du 27 mars 2020 à 13h, la situation est la suivante : 2 021 cas confirmés 18 décès 29… https://t.co/IUC6tp1NPA— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec) 1585329484.0
Stay tuned for updates.