Quebec Could Soon Start To Reopen Parks
But only outside the Montreal area.
At the Tuesday press conference, Premier Legault and Dr. Arruda suggested that Quebec parks could soon start to gradually reopen. When asked why the province had not already done so, the National Public Health Director stated that he "[knew] things are going to change as the week progresses," but stressed that it's important to prevent a "significant movement" of people. "We will look at it, but since we are in an excessively fragile and critical period, we tend to be more cautious about reopening," he said.
The Premier further underlined the importance of proceeding gradually and both men seemed to agree that any reopening would begin outside the Montreal area.
"You don't want to give too much of a signal that everything is back to normal and then you can go back to a life where you live close to people," Legault said.
But he acknowledged that "we've had a lot of requests to open the parks" and said it was "possible," even "probable," that "we will at least be able to announce that parks in the regions will be reopened."
Even if parks outside the Montreal area reopen, however, non-essential travel is still discouraged, so there will be no weekend hiking trips just yet.
Police have begun to withdraw road checkpoints, but Deputy Premier Genviève Guilbaultthat "it's not the time to go for a stroll, or to go to the shops in another region just for fun."
It's a message some regions are also sending to Montrealers.
MRC des Laurentides, an organization of 20 municipalities in the region, wrote in a May 4 statement that "it is not yet time to hit the road to its territory."
"It is important to remember that although the cordon sanitaire was lifted on May 4, tourist activities and escapades are not yet permitted, so the instruction to avoid unnecessary inter-regional travel deemed non-essential remains fully in effect."
Though Legault rebuked fears that Montrealers could infect populations in other regions, he further warned Monday that "if there is too much movement and there are too many people from Montreal going to the regions, we will not hesitate, with Dr. Arruda, to put instructions in place to prevent that kind of movement."
Already outside the 82 municipalities of the Montreal metropolitan community (CMM), elementary schools, daycares, and retail establishments with their own entrances from the outside have begun to open.
The "worrisome" situation in Montreal has forced Legault to twice delay those opening dates in the city. They are now scheduled to welcome back students and customers on May 25.
But that could change.
Officials have insisted that they're prepared to further postpone reopenings if the situation does not improve.
Stay tuned for more news.