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  • Kate 12:49 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC’s Sarah Leavitt reports that a humpback whale is in the river, under the Jacques-Cartier bridge. This species doesn’t usually make it this far upriver.

  • Kate 11:12 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse has a terrific piece this weekend with five bylines, retelling how COVID-19 came to Montreal and how hospitals, politicians and bureaucrats responded or failed to respond, with some parts of the story only now being made clear. It reads like an intense screenplay outline.

    • Jack 11:40 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      People I have no skin in this game but La Presse is worth paying for. The company is struggling and without them our society will be collectively poorer.

    • Kate 12:57 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      Relevant piece in Ricochet: A free press is no luxury.

  • Kate 10:12 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Some local businesses have seen the online side of their sales boom during lockdown, only to run into the bottleneck of parcel delivery and the hassle of lost or stolen shipments. Canada Post is not keeping up, but it’s also being asked to handle more items, and bigger and more cumbersome items, than ever.

  • Kate 10:00 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

    With no conferences on, the Palais des congrès has become an enormous warehouse for medical material.

  • Kate 20:26 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Victoria Bridge cycle link to St-Lambert has been closed for the season as it’s been declared unsafe and must be rebuilt.

    • MarcG 10:45 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      I’ve biked from St-Lambert to Montreal and I’m having a hard time understanding what they’re referring to. There’s a bridge that goes over the 132 to get to the Victoria itself, and then there’s a small concrete bridge that goes over the water, then a bridge at the locks, and then you’re dumped onto the Seaway.

    • qatzelok 12:08 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      I think it means the movable bridge (raises, lowers) that carries cars and the bike path across the seaway from the Seaway bike path. The entire link there is very low-budget Soviet style, and cracking, so I think maybe a few other pieces of that link need to be upgraded or replaced.

      In the meantime, one is forced to confront the architectural spam that is St. Lambert in order to make a proper loop across the river and back.

      Tangent: I think the suburbs should erect giant screens along their bike paths and project images of the forests and wetlands that used to be there so cyclists don’t endanger their immunity systems by looking at bungalows and lawns for too long.

  • Kate 20:19 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The federal government has banned cruise ships carrying more then 100 people till at least October. It’s good sense, but it’s another blow to the tourism industry.

  • Kate 20:17 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Barbers, hairdressers and similar personal service providers in Montreal will be allowed to reopen as of June 15.

  • Kate 16:52 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Forty-one students and staff have tested positive for Covid since schools reopened outside Montreal on May 11.

  • Kate 10:56 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Can people stay distanced on Ste-Catherine? Granted the photographer in this item may have used a long lens with a tendency to flatten the plane and make subjects look closer than they are, but it’s not a wide sidewalk and there are a fair number of people concentrated in some of the shots.

    On Time Out, JP Karwacki asks plaintively When will bars open in Montreal? and there is no answer. Nobody goes to a bar to line up in a distanced way to purchase a measure of alcohol and then sit 6 feet away from anyone else.

    Speaking of which, St-Hubert BBQ got collared this week for selling pre-mixed gin and tonic to go with its deliveries. It’s allowed to send beer or wine, but not spirits, although the producer of the canned drink protests it’s only got half the alcohol content of a typical wine. Still, it’s now off the menu.

    • DeWolf 11:30 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      The issue with bars is licensing, because if you have a bar licence you can’t sell food or booze to go, but you can if you have a restaurant or brewpub licence. I think even bar owners know it’s going to be a very long time before customers can be packed indoors like before, but they want an equal shot at surviving by selling takeaway food and drink.

      I’ve read a lot of online comments about this where people don’t seem to understand that not all places with bar licences are dingy taverns that sell quilles of Labatt and pitchers of Coors Light. A lot of bars specialize in craft beers, private-import wines and complicated cocktails that you simply can’t get at the dep or SAQ. And a number of bars have food that rivals the best restaurants. Soif is a wine bar in Gatineau is that is considered one of Canada’s best, but because it has a bar licence it can’t even sell its private imports and highly praised dishes to go. Bar Saint-Denis and Vinvinvin are two local examples – they have chef-driven food menus, but because they’ve licensed as bars, they need to stay completely shut.

      Most European countries that have de-confined are allowing bars to reopen their terraces with restrictions on capacity and distance. I saw a news clip of a nightclub in Berlin that had transformed its courtyard space into a beer garden with tables 2m apart, with no more than four people per table and obligatory masks for servers and any customer who isn’t sitting down. There are probably quite a few bars for which that could work here.

      Another related issue is alcohol in public spaces. I’ve had a couple of solitary beers in the park already, simply for a change of scenery because I spend 23 hours a day at home. But each time I do so I risk a $150 ticket because legally you can only have booze in certain parks and only if you have a “meal” (the definition of which is entirely up to the cops). Police have been very unusually active in giving out tickets for public drinking this summer, and their time might be better spent if people could legally drink in public and the cops only had to worry about drunk and disorderly people rather than anyone who is having a quiet tipple.

    • qatzelok 12:12 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      Are a lot of people actually *unable to mix gin and tonic themselves at home* while waiting for their fried chicken to arrive?

      I find this demonstrates a shocking lack of resilience.

    • Kate 13:13 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      qatzelok, remember, you have to line up at the SAQ to get gin, then line up somewhere else to buy tonic (not something you can always find at the dep), remember to get limes for garnish, and ideally have ice cubes handy in a freezer which is quite tightly stocked with isolation food.

      Or, you know, just pop a can or, for a short time, order it along with your chicken and fries.

    • DC 13:14 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      No one wants bars to open more than I. Bars can be taped off to comply with social distancing but once a few drinks have been consumed it will be impossible to keep people from bro-hugging and back slapping. It takes concentration to maintain the distancing and that may not be uppermost in people’s minds after a few

    • Uatu 15:21 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      People can’t even maintain social distance walking on the side walk because they have their nose buried in a phone to pay attention to what’s going on around them even in a pandemic. Then get booze into them and see what happens. And like in NB it only takes one person to slack off to ruin a bunch of people’s lives

    • DeWolf 15:56 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      It’s a very peculiar idea that everyone gets sloppy drunk and handsy as soon as they’re given alcohol.

      If you don’t think bars should be allowed to open for takeout business, I sure hope you are also opposed to restaurants selling wine and beer with their takeaway food, just for consistency’s sake.

    • Kate 15:56 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      Took a brief bus ride Friday afternoon, to and fro. Fro, it was just on the verge of rush hour. The 55 was moderately full and fewer than half the riders were wearing masks.

    • Blork 16:16 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      WRT to distancing on Ste-Catherine, I’m not convinced this is a big problem. AFAIK it seems to be sustained contact that represents the significant risk (sitting together socially, crowded transit, snogging) as well as places where there is a lot of shared object touching. Not so much just walking around.

      I know that media is awash with disjointed and often contradictory info on this, but based on what seems to be the actual infections (primarily in long-term care fascilities, hospitals, meat factories, etc.) and the pretty low overall infection rate among people who don’t go to those places, socialize, etc., I’m inclined to think that just being able to walk around (masked, ideally) is in the realm of acceptable behavior and low risk.

    • Mark 16:33 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      I found this article to be really helpful in establishing a frame of reference for assessing risk. Basically, the riskiest is long indoor exposure with poor ventilation, and the least risky is outdoor contact with little sustained contact (what Blork is saying). It’s actually quite hard to catch COVID just by crossing random strangers on the street, there just aren’t enough infected droplets to transmit the virus. Masks are still recommended.


    • Michael Black 16:36 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      It’s a tradeoff. We can’t all go into deep sleep till whenever. Some things have to keep gping, we need food if nothing else. 2 metres may or may not be optimum,but wider makes things even more impractical. Closer is unavoidable in some situations, but yes, there’s a difference between being at a store and waiting close to someone trying to decide which chips to buy, and two people briefly passing each other in the streets.

      I’d argue that one reason for the last few months is that people will keep their distance as things open up. The chances of a specific person getting the virus is very low, the point is to keep the spread low.

      As more interaction happens, the spread may increase, but will be limited if enough people at least try to keep their distance.

      The fallout is some fear the worst, and some will report even vague “rule breaking”. And some take things literally, complaining about too many people in the parking withiut considering that maybe they should go elsewhere.

      Some of this is propaganda, not for sinister reasons but to limit the spread of the virus. Government wants people to comply, and a bit of fear is better than rigid enforcement. But for some, they may see the worst,

    • Spi 18:01 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      The problem is that sidewalks are no longer just sidewalks they’ve also become a waiting area. All stores are operating at reduced capacity and making their customers wait outside. It’s practically impossible to keep 2 meters apart on sainte-catherine, and since stores have such small storefronts lines for one store will inevitably overlap with the one next door. So you’ve got people in close proximity (most of which not wearing masks) for an extended period of time. Precisely the situation we’re trying to avoid.

    • david642 02:52 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      They should repeal the prohibition on open containers full stop – it should be impossible for a municipality to control the consumption of alcohol anywhere in the public realm. Ticket for drunkenness, ticket for disturbing the piece, ticket for litter – do not ticket for possession/consumption of alcohol.

      Likewise, all restaurants and bars should be allowed to sell takeaway drinks. There is absolutely no logic – none – aside from inertia in this absolutely insane idea that selling a takeaway cocktail is justifiably prohibited.

      I applaud the beer and wine sales, and I’ll contribute time and money to make sure that this rule never changes back. But we need to push harder: this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that the community should seize to get the laws changed. Whether that’s a borough mayor, PM at city hall, Sergakis and his slimy ilk, the producers, the restauranteurs, communities groups, or a crusading politician – who cares? Change this stupid law on open containers, let people order cocktails to walk the old town or Sainte Catherine, or to take to the park. Let’s do this while we have a critical mass of people who are on side, before they forget about it.


  • Kate 10:38 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Hundreds of Jump bikes were spotted in the trash outside Montreal.

    • mare 11:26 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      Outrage generates clicks, but a few possible reasons:

      1) AFAIK Montreal’s scrap yards were closed until Monday, that might be the reason they are so far away. The next day they were probably shredded because of optics and contracts.
      2) Jump is sold to another company and its exact status is unclear.
      3) The Jump bikes can’t be used without the app to unlock them. They’re especially made that way to prevent theft. Standard, without power and unlocking permissions through the app, they are locked with a thick, very hard to access bolt.
      4) The bikes use many non-standard parts, so even if you manage t unlock them, you can only ride them until they need repair.
      5) These particular bikes might actually *need* repair, and the repair might be more costly than the scrap value. Or, because of the company ownership change, the repair shop might have run out of parts as well, and taken apart some bikes for spare parts.

    • Chris 14:46 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      This is Uber once again being a horrible actor:

      mare, all fine points, but it’s still a perfect example of how our current system of capitalism is bad for the environment. Scarce materials and energy are used to create these things, and then they are just wastefully destroyed. All just hand waved away because of ‘liability’ and other BS.

    • Kate 15:58 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      mare, I was merely surprised to see that a technology that was so recently hailed as groundbreaking was literally in the dumpster.

    • mare 19:01 on 2020-05-29 Permalink

      @Kate @Chris. I saw an article about this happening in other cities too.

      Jumps are really well-made bikes, but they get quite a beating. And being also protected against theft some repairs are impossible, so they get recycled. Happens to cars too, sometimes they get crushed after what looks like minor accidents.

      At least the metal of frames is easily recyclable, unlike the metal in millions of car tyres that get discarded every year.

    • Dhomas 08:58 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      I doubt that if Communauto went bust tomorrow, all their cars would be sent to the scrap heap…

    • CE 10:14 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      I wonder what happened to all those Car2Go smart cars.

  • Kate 10:36 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Four of La Presse’s journalists have a byline on this interview with city public health director Mylène Drouin, who says it was a mistake for Quebec to direct its response to the pandemic from Quebec City rather than Montreal, and has some sharp things to say about Gaétan Barrette’s cuts in funding to public health, and his rearrangement of the health bureaucracy that made it harder to organize the city’s response.

  • Kate 10:17 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    So what happens if someone who lives in a rooming house is told to self-isolate? It’s dicey.

    • david642 02:59 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      I truly feel like I’m in a Conrad Black-style jail right now. I can actually, in real time, feel myself getting increasingly mentally unwell, like ongoing low grade accumulating psychological trauma from isolation, repetition, boredom, stress, and far far too much time online. So, I really feel genuinely sympathetic to the poor souls who are suffering through this in a single bedroom, it has to be very challenging mentally to be in what amounts to a jail cell, or what did until fairly recently, when the weather turned.

  • Kate 09:59 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is supposed to launch a temporary app so passengers can buy and validate bus tickets, to allow for contactless purchase.

  • Kate 09:43 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Aaron Derfel reports that the city’s ERs are turning into Covid hotspots.

  • Kate 20:57 on 2020-05-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s expenses connected with the pandemic have already exceeded estimates by $20 million.

    • david642 03:03 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

      Cut it all off. Dump the responsibility on the province, nobody will know anyway, since the city takes such a backseat, and Legault et al. are running the show anyway.

      Instead, the city should drop all spending to life support levels, and plough absolutely every possible resource into getting as many worthwhile projects – especially rail rapid transit expansion – as close to shovel ready as possible before the end of summer.

      It should be an all hands, around-the-clock operation, just drop into that hole hard, purpose-oriented work to get the file ready for our people to lobby the feds, up to and including Trudeau himself.

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