The Quebec COVID-19 chronicles
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Quebec with full force. The first confirmed case came at the end of February. The victim was a lady who was returning from Iran. Cases rapidly multiplied in the metropolis, which became the epicenter of the pandemic. There was also a significant outbreak in the Estrie region.
Quebec quickly implemented sanitary and social distancing measures to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and flatten the curve. The government’s objectives were to respond to the demand for care by building the capacities of the healthcare system. The availability of personal protective equipment was increased for healthcare personnel, and by mid-March, additional screening tests were made available.
The first press conference was held on March 12 by Quebec Prime Minister François Legault, who was joined by Quebec’s Minister of Health Danielle McCann and National Director of Public Health Horacio Arruda, in order to announce the measures that had been put in place to fight the pandemic. The day after the press conference, Minister Legault declared a state of emergency and the closure of all schools. The trio began holding daily press briefings at 1:00 each afternoon with updates on the situation. They also monitored all air transport arrivals and departures.
The course of the COVID-19 pandemic by region
In Gatineau, several changes were made at the municipal level, including close collaboration between the city and the healthcare network in order to monitor the situation and reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19.
May 27, 2020: In response to current high temperatures, the City of Gatineau has temporarily and partially opened its water play facilities after getting the green light from the Outaouais Board of Public Health. The facilities are cleaned in accordance with a rigorous disinfection protocol.
May 26, 2020: An electronic permit to water a new lawn or sown area is now available online at a cost of $15. The permit will be sent to you via email. In accordance with provincial government guidelines, day camps will take place this summer despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to observe social distancing regulations, while also following recommended hygiene practices, a reduced number of children will be allowed to participate.
May 22, 2020: The City of Gatineau has implemented measures to promote social distancing. In response to the coronavirus, they have also modified traffic on Rue Jacques-Cartier until September 30 to facilitate physical distancing measures and active commutes.
May 21, 2020: Outdoor activities are progressively being resumed. Residents of Gatineau will be able to enjoy outdoor activities while observing the recommendations of the Quebec Board of Public Health with regard to COVID-19.
May 19, 2020: As of today, the City of Gatineau has resumed bulky waste collection, which had been interrupted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For their own protection, waste collection employees will not enter people’s homes. Any bulky items for pickup must be left outside, near the building. To limit any risks of contamination, residents are requested to thoroughly clean and disinfect the items before bringing them outside. To take advantage of this service, residents can dial 311.
May 14, 2020: The City of Gatineau reminds residents of the importance of observing social distancing recommendations when visiting parks, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Quebec Board of Public Health.
May 13, 2020: The doors of the Ecocenter will open today at 6:00 p.m. In response to the coronavirus, sanitary measures have been implemented, including cleaning, disinfection and social distancing. These guidelines must be observed at all times.
May 12, 2020: Three new measures are announced by the City of Gatineau in order to provide support to agencies and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city decides to reduce the monthly rent of its tenants by 75 percent. The due date is postponed for the payment of business licenses and the period of validity is extended on construction permits. The city also grants a subsidy of $123,105 for a plan that will promote local purchasing.
May 11, 2020: The executive committee requests that the council maintain various subsidies for agencies and events despite the current crisis. The goal of the request is to maintain the quality of life of the citizens of Gatineau and to diminish the financial impact on the various community partners.
May 8, 2020: In accordance with instructions received from Health Canada, in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the city bans garage sales, which fall under the category of gatherings. In preparation for the return to school scheduled for May 11, the City of Gatineau Police Department (SPVG) explains the safety guidelines to be observed in school zones. Because the Gatineau Library is closed, it launches a new online book borrowing service.
May 5, 2020: The gardening season is kicked off by the City of Gatineau with the opening of the community gardens, while observing the preventive health measures issued by the federal government and public health officials.
May 4, 2020: Courtesy calls are made to senior citizens living in the city of Gatineau in order to reassure them during the period of confinement implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Another objective of the calls is to ensure the medical and nutritional wellbeing of the seniors and provide them with information on available resources. A call for mutual aid and solidarity is made by the city in order to unite and lend a hand to the agencies and business that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
COVID-19 updates in Blainville
May 29 update for the City of Blainville
The City of Blainville is only maintaining essential services. Residents can communicate with the city offices via email, telephone or through their online services, as the city is part of the CMM.
June 1, 2020 – Resumption of events in a safe environment that has been cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the sanitation regulations issued by the Quebec Board of Public Health.
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, online services are being prioritized in order to safeguard the health of residents. It’s important for everyone to work together in following the established guidelines. City officials are keeping abreast of the latest information regarding the pandemic and are taking all of the necessary cleaning and disinfection measures in order to protect residents and city employees.
May 9, 2020: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, district meetings are cancelled until further notice.
May 8, 2020: It’s announced that certain worksites and jobs will resume operations on May 11, 2020. All garage sales are cancelled until further notice.
May 5, 2020: Bids are allowed to be submitted privately in video format for an indefinite period.
May 1, 2020: An optional no-contact method of paying taxes is implemented.
In the Estrie region: The number of COVID-19 cases has diminished significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, unlike the situation in Montreal. A group had left on a ski trip in the Alps during the spring break and several of them returned infected. But the situation seems to have returned to normal, and no new deaths have been reported during the past two weeks. To date, a total of 25 senior citizens over the age of 60 stricken with COVID-19 have died.
- Sports, recreation and outdoor activities will gradually be reinstated
- The measures that had been implemented will be relaxed in the living environment
- Regional checkpoints will be removed
- Economic activities will be resumed
- Childcare centers and school facilities will be reopened
May 14, 2020 COVID-19 update for the Terrebonne and Mascouche subdivisions of Les Moulins RCM
Given the fact that the current COVID-19 situation continues to evolve quickly, it’s important to mobilize in order to diminish the spread of the coronavirus. Les Moulins RCM is working in close collaboration with the government to respond to the emergency situation.
Following the recommendations of the government of Quebec, it’s important to stay at home and follow the guidelines to the letter. If you have to leave your home, it’s strongly recommended to purchase locally. The Office of Tourist Information and the Administrative Offices are currently closed for an indefinite period as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 emergency aid for SMEs offered by Les Moulins RCM
In mid-April, $1,272,454 in emergency aid was offered by the municipality to help small and medium-sized enterprises in Terrebonne and Mascouche. This financial relief comes out of the $150 million in COVID-19 emergency funds announced by the government. Assistance is being provided in the form of unlimited-term loans to companies experiencing difficulties stemming from COVID-19.
COVID-19 measures implemented in Trois-Rivières
- On May 14, nine new police officers went on duty to provide assistance with the current COVID-19 situation.
- Nearly a quarter of the residents of the Saint Joseph Long-Term Care Facility have been infected.
To help Trois-Rivières get through the coronavirus crisis, economic measures were implemented in the city on May 12, 2020 to aid businesses in the region. The IDE (Innovation and Economic Development) assists business leaders with their financial and networking needs through various programs. To date, they have provided support to more than 300 companies.
COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection measures in the city of Laval
In response to the threat of the coronavirus, the City of Laval has implemented sanitary measures to protect the health of residents and city employees. Essential services are currently being maintained for Laval residents. Meanwhile, there has been close collaboration with the Board of Public Health in order to reduce the risks of spreading the pandemic.
MONTREAL DECLARES A STATE OF EMERGENCY UNTIL JUNE 4, 2020 IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
The City of Montreal has implemented measures to protect its residents from the COVID-19 pandemic. City officials confirm that they are rigorously following the hygiene, cleaning and disinfection guidelines and recommendations issued by the regional Board of Public Health in accordance with established protocols. Certain services are now available. For the complete list, please contact the city offices.
Cancelation of outdoor events in the city of Longueuil
To protect its population, the City of Longueuil has decided to cancel all indoor and outdoor events until August 31, 2020.
Schools cleaning and disinfection measures in preparation for a progressive return to classes
Strict hygiene protocols are being enforced to ensure a safe return to classes for students and teachers. The cleaning and disinfection guidelines issued by the Quebec Board of Public Health will have to be observed to the letter. A maximum of 15 students will be allowed per group and they must maintain a 2-meter distance. The school will also supply masks to the faculty.
It goes without saying that vulnerable persons—whether students or school personnel—are strongly advised to stay home and perform their work remotely.
Schools reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides
Preschools and primary schools are reopening progressively in most regions of Quebec, except for those located in Greater Montreal, which will not resume classes until the end of August. High schools are also scheduled to remain closed until the end of August. The return to classes is not mandatory. It will be left to the judgement of the parents, who may opt for homeschooling, instead.
School daycare services on the heels of COVID-19
Operations will resume gradually in each school for all families with children who are enrolled. Emergency daycare services remain open for the Joliette RCM and Greater Montreal areas.
Restaurants reopen amid the COVID-19 crisis
On March 22, the government ordered all restaurant dining areas to be closed. Some restaurant owners turned to pick-up orders in order to continue operating, while observing all pertinent cleaning, disinfection and social distancing measures.
The predictions made by experts in April that approximately 50 percent of the country’s restaurants will close permanently have many restaurant owners worried. In a more recent survey conducted by the Quebec Association of Restaurateurs (ARQ), that figure has risen to 67 percent. The greatest hurdle has been the restaurants’ inability to pay their employees, suppliers and rents.
Delivery and pickup orders to provide a temporary alternative during the COVID-19 pandemic
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the most logical solution for many restaurant owners has been to offer delivery and carryout services.