Quebec to delay reopening of Montreal businesses – In a press briefing today, Premier Francois Legault announced that the re-opening of non-essential business in Montreal will be delayed one week to May 18th – but Montreal area schools will still reopen as previously stated. “There is a very small margin for error for a deconfinement in Montreal…. we want to reopen stores in Montreal, but we know that if we reopen and when we’ll reopen stores, we will probably have more cases in our hospitals… Montreal does not have enough available hospital beds to cope with the surge of new COVID-19 patients the reopening may cause… the situation is very tight right now (but) the situation is under control with the way it’s managed, with the number of people that we have right now continuing to stay at home. But if we open a bit, we need to have a margin and we don’t see this margin today in hospitals.”
As for the opening of elementary schools in Montreal, they are still scheduled to reopen on May 19th – but teachers will now be allowed to wear protective masks and the province will supply them. “We still have two weeks ahead of us. We will follow the situation very closely and take a data-driven decision,” he said. In response to Quebec’s English school boards stating they would make the decision themselves to not reopen English schools, until they felt it was safe enough to do so, Premier Legault said, ‘They cannot decide that no school will be open for the English, they cannot do that’. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public-health director said ‘it will depend on the data and that public health authorities are monitoring the situation in Montreal closely… we are not going where we thought we would go’. Elementary schools in the rest of the province are scheduled to reopen on May 11th, as well as non-essential manufacturing and construction companies.