Some observations in Villeray

Went outside for a walk in my Villeray neighbourhood, and to do a couple of brief but necessary errands. Lots of people were out cycling, running, walking dogs. In the street I wouldn’t have noticed much difference, although maybe more working-age adults were around than usual before 5 on a weekday.

I hope most of the little groups I saw were family or otherwise cohabiting groups, and not socializing. I saw a lot of baby carriages and a lot of young kids on small bicycles, but I guess families need to let their kids exercise a bit, even if it means possibly crossing paths with a kid’s friends and having them get too close.

At Jean-Coutu I had to not only sanitize my hands on the way in, but also answer some questions about whether I’d been travelling or had experienced any symptoms. There was plexiglas in front of the cash registers, but they were accepting cash payments.

At the butcher shop there was also hand sanitizer and a sign on the door limiting the number of people inside. Once inside, there wasn’t much policing going on, and no barriers. It was nice to say hi to the guys who are always there, and they said they hoped to stay open.

The florist at the corner was emptied of the plants that used to be in the window, and a sign on the door just said “Fermé. Merci.”

I saw one very old man shuffling along Jarry with a cane and was like OMG, but what can you do? You can’t force people to stay home just because of their age. Maybe he’s made a risk-benefit assessment and knows that a little exercise does him more good than staying inside. He’s safer than the ones living in old folks’ homes, for sure.

One of the neighbourhood fruiteries has closed up, but my usual place was open, with hand sanitizer inside the front door. A spaced-out woman was following the owner around, talking to him in a vague and druggy sort of way, and he was too polite to ask her to back off. I picked up the things I wanted and vamoosed.

La Presse has a brief video of a largely empty city. Not what I saw this afternoon.