As Montreal ramps up its COVID-19 testing efforts ahead of the gradual reopening of businesses, the STM is stepping in to help. At a press conference Monday, company board Chairman Philippe Schnobb, along with Mayor Valérie Plante and Regional Public Health Director Dr. Mylène Drouin, announced that some STM buses will become mobile testing clinics. "The clinics, which will be set up by public health, are intended to support the effort to create the conditions for safe deconfinement in Montreal," according to an STM statement.

"Once the morning rush hour is over, STM drivers will position the buses in the sectors identified by public health," the company explains.

"At the end of the day, the buses will be completely cleaned and disinfected by public health before returning to the STM's garages."

The mobile units will target coronavirus "hotspots," Dr. Drouin said, particularly neighbourhoods where there are other barriers to testing access.

Mayor Plante further explained that the clinics will "act in conjunction" with other testing centres in the most-affected boroughs.

"The STM is very proud to collaborate with the public health authority to make possible to the deployment of these mobile units," Schnobb said.

The clinics will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in designated areas.

Also on Monday, Premier François Legault announced a one-week postponement of the reopening date for retail establishments in the Montreal area.

Mayor Plante and Dr. Drouin welcomed the decision.

"It will allow us to carry on with our preparation to ensure that conditions are optimal when we reopen some sectors as well as schools," the Mayor said.

The Premier cited the low availability of hospital beds in the metropolitan area as the reason for the decision.

"In Montreal, the situation is stable," he explained. But "there is little room for manoeuvre."

"So we do more deconfinement in the regions because there is room to manoeuvre on the hospital beds that are available."

"Though the battle is not over in Montreal, I want to say we are continuing the fight. We are thinking outside the box. We're putting [...] all the efforts and energy together so we can go through this as fast as possible," Mayor Plante concluded on Monday.

Stay tuned for more news.


This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.

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