At Premier François Legault's daily COVID-19 press briefing, he announced that the government will donate one million face masks to residents of Montreal's most affected areas. The government will also provide $6 million to the Montreal metropolitan community's public transit networks to assist in purchasing and distributing masks. Legault reiterated the "strong suggestion" to wear masks in Montreal, especially on public transportation and the city's "hot zones."
"We're giving one million masks to the City of Montreal and we're giving $6 million to the different transportation societies like the STM and the STL to give free masks to people who don't have them," said Legault.
"I think it will help get us started in the right direction. Of course, those who can make their own masks are invited to do so."
The news comes after yet another increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Quebec.
On May 15, Quebec reported 696 new cases for a total of 41,420. Another 50 deaths were recorded for a total of 3,401. There are 1,822 people hospitalized, including 191 in intensive care.
In the last month, the government has been increasingly insistent that Quebec residents wear a mask as an additional precaution in situations when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
On Thursday, Legault said specifically that it's important for residents of the Montreal metropolitan community (CMM), the epicentre of the outbreak in the province, to cover their faces when they're in public.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, en date du 15 mai 2020 à 13 h 15, la situation est la suivante : 11 057 prélèvements effectué… https://t.co/aSQnCHy81e— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec) 1589563189.0
Evidence of more widespread mask-wearing, he said, could play a part in determining when Montreal retail opens.
"If we see in Montreal more use of masks including in grocery stores, that could convince public health to open businesses on May 25."
The premier and mayor made clear Thursday that they're "not excluding" the possibility of making masks mandatory on public transit.
Also on Friday, the City of Montreal unveiled its plan to give pedestrians and cyclists more room to move around this summer.
#COVID19 : Cet été, nous proposons à la population les Voies actives sécuritaires, qui feront de Montréal une ville… https://t.co/LH7eyiRmIN— Valérie Plante (@Valérie Plante) 1589551611.0
In total, 327 kilometres of road will be reconfigured through projects that were already underway, as well as additional, temporary measures for these exceptional circumstances.
This will include some shared spaces and pedestrian-only corridors.
Si on veut étouffer la pandémie à Montréal et dans les environs, il faut mettre les ressources de l’État au service… https://t.co/bMJptmwmhk— François Legault (@François Legault) 1589561438.0
Stay tuned for more news.