Updates from March, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 14:25 on 2020-03-14 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s virtually no other news.

    François Legault gave a presser Saturday afternoon. He was asked, among other things, whether Montreal could be cut off from the mainland if virus cases multiplied here. His answer: Maybe.

    Legault also suggested that people aged 70 and over should stay home.

    A city spokesman says there’s absolutely no reason to buy bottled water as there’s no problems at all with the city’s water supply.

    Santé Québec tweeted 3 hours ago that there are now 21 confirmed cases in Quebec.

    • EmilyG 14:30 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      Legault also said for people with chronic health conditions to stay inside.

      Guess I’m not going outside for a while.

    • Michael Black 14:42 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      Is he really worried about this virus, or is it a metaphor, Montreal “polluting” the rest of the province with ideas and hijabs?

      The Atwater library has cancelled events, but was staying open, when I checked yesterday evening. But now they are closing after today, to March 30th. They do have a digital library. I also noticed a few weeks ago that digital only membership in the Jewish Public Library is $20 (I hope I got that right). though if they close I don’t know how you join.

      I’m surprised there wasn’t a run on libraries.

      I’m not staying in, but it’s not like I’ve been anywhere much over the past year. And now, even fewer places to go.

    • GC 15:09 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      There wasn’t a reason to buy bottled water before, either, but that didn’t stop people.

    • Ephraim 19:18 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      The should close the malls and all non-essential stores, so people have less of a reason to go out. People don’t get the social distancing yet… but it’s very important. Even grocery stores need to limit how many people are in the store. Too many people at a time is a recipe for disaster.

      Article I just read talks about probabilities. At today’s rate in Paris, in 250 people, there is a 95% chance there is at least one person with COVID-19.

    • Definitely Sacha 20:00 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      Hi, long time reader / first time caller.

      Do we have a source for this bit of info, Legault saying that those with chronic health conditions should stay inside? I looked a little but didn’t find that particular bit. I have a condition and I know a few others who should know as well! Thanks!

    • Michael Black 20:26 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      The CBC Montreal page has a prominent article right now where it quotes Legault about seniors, then a lower bullet point says:

      “Public Health Director Horatio Arruda is also asking all people with compromised immune systems or chronic ailments to avoid all non-essential outings, regardless of age.”

      i hope the government is planning to deliver food because I was running out anyway, and I’m not up to fighting crowds stocking up. I’m not worried about catching it, just the crowded grocery stores.

      Though I suppose the route to take is order in supplies, which likely come further up the supply chain so restocking isn’t the same issue as at stores.

    • EmilyG 20:35 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

      Thanks, Michael Black.

      My initial source was a CBC reporter live-tweeting Legault’s speech (and I did ask her for clarification on that point, and she said he did indeed say that.)

      Though if it says for chronic-ailment people to avoid non-essential outings, maybe I can go down to the local store sometime.

    • Dhomas 05:55 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      I stocked up on food. My freezer is full as is my cold room. Not because I’m worried about stores running out of food, but because I don’t want to have to deal with it when the social distancing stuff gets more severe. My brother is in Italy. They only let 6 people in the grocery store at once. When he goes out to walk his dog, there are government trucks with loud speakers telling him (and everyone else) to go back indoors. If we’re heading towards this scenario, which I think we are, I’d rather be prepared.

    • Definitely Sacha 06:44 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      Thanks for the info! I’m going to take better stock of what I’m low on and stock up today (carefully) since I suppose I’ll be at home a whole lot more now, ’till who-knows-when.

      I do feel that it would be helpful for a little more detail regarding the advisory. “Anyone with a condition” is pretty clear to those who have one but really quite broad to anyone else. Might motivate more calls to the phonelines.

      Any word on how this might affect the filing of everyone’s taxes? 😛

    • Alison Cummins 08:16 on 2020-03-15 Permalink


      Ok, so how are Italian dogs supposed to be emptied if they can’t be walked? That seems like a pretty essential outing to me.

      Also, dog-walking should be very low-risk. It’s outside, involves only one person and no touching of surfaces.

    • Francesco 09:00 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      THIS is why I say restricting foreign travel is just for show at this point.

      The fourth graphic that shows the clusters is telling, with only a tiny cluster of infections that were the result of travel. Once the local spread began, community interaction was by far the biggest contributor to the spread.

    • Francesco 09:02 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      Ok I give up, I never have luck with the mobile version.


    • Dhomas 10:38 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      @Alison: they let his dog do his business. As you said, it’s pretty low risk as it’s done alone (with your dog). The trucks just go around blasting the reminder for people to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary (like to make your dog poop).

    • Chris 10:40 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      Michael, an anti-hijab conspiracy? Really? Seems a stretch.

      EmilyG, don’t take ‘don’t go outside’ so literally. It’s harmless to sit on your balcony for fresh air for example. What they mean is stay away from people and surfaces that could have the virus on them.

    • DeWolf 12:48 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      Why do people look at Italy and assume the same thing will happen here? Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore have successfully contained the virus through the same measures Quebec is now taking. Quarantines on inbound travellers, schools closed, everyone working from home, no large gatherings – but no public curfew. Most restaurants and bars are still open, albeit at reduced capacity. People are going out for hikes to get fresh air.

      In all three places the number of cases has remained below 150, with few fatalities, minimal new cases and most patients now recovered. With everyone now taking this seriously in Quebec I think it’s more likely we will see a HK, TW or SG kind of situation here than a mysterious Italy-style explosion. Especially since we’re taking action with very few cases to begin with.

      Yesterday I read somebody on social media saying that the only way to prevent “millions of deaths” was to lock yourself at home for the next two weeks. That’s absurd. This virus has run rampant since mid-November in the most populous country on earth, with zero effort to contain it until mid-January, and the total global death toll is still only 6,000. It’s a very serious situation but it’s not the apocalypse.

      I’m heading out for a walk on Mount Royal… enjoy the sunshine, everyone.

    • Kate 12:50 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      DeWolf, I think what worries me most now is not Italy or China but the proximity of the U.S. border and the mismanagement and poor health care of all the millions just south of the border.

    • Tee Owe 13:08 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      I understand your point Kate but I agree with DeWolf, this is a new situation but it is definitely not the apocalypse – we should be responsible but also relax and enjoy the sunshine

    • Chris 15:57 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      >This virus has run rampant since mid-November in the most populous country on earth, with zero effort to contain it until mid-January

      That’s how exponential growth works, slow and unnoticeable at first, then wham. But when China did make an effort to contain, they went all in.

      >but it is definitely not the apocalypse

      It’s only about 5% fatal, that would make a lame apocalypse. 🙂 Many will die, then life will go on.

    • Tee Owe 17:27 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      I must come back on a point I made before – the ‘% fatal’ depends on how many were identified as infected – those numbers are only as reliable as the testing strategies and practice. This actually relates to Kate’s comment about the US – highly variable, to be polite.

    • Chris 18:30 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

      Tee Owe, quite right, so if anything it’s a lower fatality rate, yes? Making an even lamer apocalypse. 🙂 Not that anyone said it was the apocalypse…

  • Kate 09:08 on 2020-03-14 Permalink | Reply  

    An Urbania writer visits the city morgue to find out if it’s like on TV.

    • Kate 09:01 on 2020-03-14 Permalink | Reply  

      CBC says Saturday morning that there are still only 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec. This piece has other updates on related stories.

      The STM is still running as well as doing more cleaning, and Bixi is considering launching early this year to allow more people to get around town in a socially distanced way. It’s not a done deal yet, and there’s still crusty remnants of old snow lying around in spots where Bixi stations are often placed: there’s a reason Bixi doesn’t usually open till April.

      Kijiji is banning the resale of in-demand products like face masks, hand sanitizer and, God knows, toilet paper, in an attempt to reduce profiteering.

      Food banks and homeless shelters are facing particular problems when considering contagion, self-isolation and social distancing issues. There have been lots of reports of panic buying and toilet paper has become a reliable punch line to all kinds of jokes.

      The exhibition baseball games scheduled at the Olympic stadium March 23 and 24 have been cancelled.

      TVA reports that a surgeon at Notre-Dame hospital has been quarantined after one of her patients was diagnosed with the virus.

      • denpanosekai 09:05 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Two days ago I saw a guy riding a Bixi on the Verendrye. So I guess it was a stolen bike?

      • Kate 09:09 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Whoa. Yes, I suppose it must have been.

      • jeather 10:26 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        At the Super C and Atwater Market this morning: store is packed, mostly out of meat, bread, rice, low on frozen goods, entirely out of bananas, flour, sugar and yeast (but the store is almost always out of yeast so not sure that means a lot). Long lines but people don’t seem to be buying crazy amounts of food. Didn’t check TP (I bought a pile last time there was a sale and I am still good) but there was a fair amount of kleenex left.

        Atwater Market is deserted and seems to have lots of everything available. The en vrac store has lots of flour and sugar; the stalls all had bananas and piles of fruit and veggies.

      • denpanosekai 10:34 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Jeather, is it any crazier than usual? The Lasalle Super C and IGA (on champlain) have always been nuts on the weekend pre-coronavirus. I’m going to take a wild guess that by Wednesday next week, things will be back to normal. Or so I hope.

      • Kate 10:46 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Thanks for reporting, jeather – that’s useful data.

        Thursday I was at Rachelle-Béry on St-Laurent in Little Italy and you would not have known there was an impending crisis. The cash lines were a little long, but given it was a little before 6 p.m., not especially crazy. Of course R-B is kind of pricey so not everyone shops there – I’m always amazed by the people I see getting a week’s groceries, while I wait patiently in line with my one or two special treats.

        Friday I went to a little Intermarché store where I often shop, given it’s between work and home. It was not crowded, well stocked except for toilet paper (which I didn’t need, but I noted the empty shelves as I passed by) and rice.

      • Janet 11:05 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Thinking this was a good stimulus to get back to baking my own bread, I picked up a nice bag of whole wheat flour at the en vrac store at Atwater yesterday. Then it occurred to me that this maybe isn’t the best time to be buying food from open bins. But those chocolate peanuts I guzzled down would probably get me first…

      • jeather 11:31 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        It was absolutely busier than usual, I generally shop every Saturday morning, and the Super C is noticeably busier and emptier of food. I waited 26 minutes for a cashier, which I know is not much lately, but more than usual; also I was there before 8 when it opened and in line at 8:23. I checked the time because I was curious. The cashier said it had been like this since Wed night. They were also out of most cooking oils, which is annoying.

        Everyone is very polite and friendly (at a distance) and understanding, it’s just long waits. I also anticipate that by mid next week grocery shopping will be normal again.

      • CE 12:23 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        I was talking to a couple friends in the neighbourhood who said Provigo was super busy yesterday. I went to one of the little Greek grocery stores near my house and the lady at the counter said it was busier than normal but there were maybe 10 customers in the whole store and they weren’t out of anything (lower than normal on meat though).

      • Tim S. 13:33 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Going through my pantry, I have to do a lot of figuring out to do about about the difference between expiry and best before dates, keeping in mind that it’s a bad time to get food poisoning.

      • EmilyG 14:31 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        If/when I can go outside again, I might go to Rachelle-Béry (thanks for the tip.) I go there sometimes anyway because of my very limited diet.

      • Jim Strankinga 18:32 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Dunno for today, but did my groceries yesterday(Friday) afternoon at Provigo, LaSalle, and SuperC Newman LaSalle. Not particular busy at all. Water shelf and TP empty (What is with toilet paper anyway?), but for the rest business as usual.

      • vasi 02:44 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        Went to a Pharmaprix in Villeray to pick up toothpaste and a prescription, and it was much more crowded than usual. All out of TP, and nobody really trying to keep a distance.

      • Dhomas 06:11 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        Reporting from a little further east: I passed by Costco Anjou on my way to the Saint-Méthode bakery Friday morning. The was a huge crowd of people waiting at 9h05, though the store only officially opens at 10h. There were reports of violence at that Costco I read about later. The Saint-Méthode store was fully stocked on bread, every shelf was full (it had just opened). Plus, they sell it for quite cheap at 6$ for 4 loaves.

        I passed by the Maxi on Jean-Talon close to Langelier on Friday around 16h and saw a crowd of people outside the store, though I didn’t investigate to find out why. The Provigo on Sherbrooke next to Radisson metro had no crowd outside, but quite a few people inside. No toilet paper and no fish, rice, flour, UHT Milk (Grand Pré), bread. There was very little meat left, though the butchers were getting some out, which shoppers were grabbing as it came. Facial tissues (Kleenex), was being sold directly from the shipping box. Lineups at the register were longer than usual, and the cashiers seemed tired.

    • Kate 00:57 on 2020-03-14 Permalink | Reply  

      More Corona news.

      The Museum of Fine Arts is closed and the tennis stadium also, although who goes there outside the Rogers Cup?

      Courts are suspending activities and some may be relieved that discussions on closing the NDG police station have also been postponed.

      In general, the tourism industry is feeling the pinch, even though this is hardly tourism season.

      • Tim S. 09:24 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        There’s a lot going on at the tennis stadium, including affordable and well-organized kid’s lessons.

      • Kate 10:50 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Thanks for the clarification. I only see the tennis stadium mentioned in the context of the tennis stars coming here for that week in summertime.

      • ottokajetan 10:51 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Second those lessons. My daughter takes them. Very affordable and well-run.

      • Ephraim 13:00 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        What tourism? There is still tourism? Cancellations are the only thing coming in. And misinformation is rampant… like if you come to Canada, you have to self isolate for 14 days before you can go out. Seriously. But then, employees are told that if they go away they have to self isolate for 14 days before they can come back to work… so..

        I was surprised that the government hasn’t closed the US border other than for cargo… the US numbers are suppressed for lack of testing kits and government interference. Plus of course with 30 million uninsured, who are likely to go to work because they don’t have sick days.

      • JP 14:01 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        “…if you come to Canada, you have to self isolate for 14 days before you can go out.” Isn’t that true? I have a friend coming back from a business trip from the U.S. today, and that is what she is planning to do. And, I have relatives who returned from international travel 2 days ago, and this is what they are doing.

      • Ian 18:01 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        Well “have to” isn’t being enforced… there are a lot of NY plates on my street since Purim was just last week. I am sure the same situation is going on in the US. Apparently there’s been outbreaks within the Hasidic community already in New Rochelle, I don’t know why they aren’t practicing self-isolation if they travel. I saw the same amount of people walking back from synagogue as usual today so it’s obvious they aren’t paying attention to the large gatherings rule either.

        I’m not pointing my finger at the Hasidim in particular, mind. For me they are obvious because I live in a very Hasidic neighbourhood. I am sure there is a lot of this going on, everywhere.

      • Ephraim 19:32 on 2020-03-14 Permalink

        @Ian – Some of the synagogues in CSL actually closed and had no services this sabbath, the first time, ever. It depends on the community and if they listen, etc. Satmar will definitely not heed anything anyone else says… they just pray it away.

        There is nothing saying that tourists have to do it. Which is part of the problem. Government ordered it on certain people, but not people coming here.

      • Chris 16:45 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        Do the Hasidim generally believe in the germ theory of disease? I know they generally don’t believe in evolution, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Ian 17:48 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        @Ephraim interesting about the CSL synagogues.
        @Chris that “extrapolating imagined vices of a specific population based on cultural assumptions” thing you are doing is really cringy. I’m not sure why you think discriminating against people based on your half-baked prejudices is ok.

        In any case the Hassidim are taking his seriously, it would seem. The Hatzolah are involved too. This was shared with me – https://photos.app.goo.gl/ncgAYi7eC131ybH69

      • Chris 18:24 on 2020-03-15 Permalink

        Ian, do you deliberately _try_ to misunderstand/misinterpret everything I ever say? I’m genuinely curious as to whether they do or not. A quick search did not reveal the answer; some commentators here I suspect will know, so I asked. Thanks for the link. Do you have the recto verso?

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