Updates from April, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:09 on 2020-04-11 Permalink | Reply  

    Police are handing out $1546 tickets to young itinerants for gathering in public. Not only do they have nowhere to go, they’re clearly not able to pay a fine like this.

    • Ian 18:16 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

      I don’t imagine many people are surprised to hear that.

      It’s standard cop playbook to punitively give absurd tickets to the homeless. I am pretty sure they are still roughing them up “off the books” too.

    • ottawaowl 14:15 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

      Whoa! And I thought it was bad here in Ottawa. This outspoken homeless vet served the politicians during the FLQ crisis and moved from Montreal because of the SPVM. He says that the pandemic is making living rough a LOT rougher and makes some shocking accusations that may contain a few grains of truth.

  • Kate 17:07 on 2020-04-11 Permalink | Reply  

    The Rogers Cup, intended to be women’s tennis this August, has been postponed until 2021.

    • Kate 12:29 on 2020-04-11 Permalink | Reply  

      The city has cancelled the entire season for the city’s community gardens. This is bound to be rough on people who use them to grow vegetables and herbs they can’t easily find for sale.

      • Kevin 12:40 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        The longer this goes on, the more apparent it becomes how many managers are in over their head.

        Make an odd day/even day sked for the garden plots. Place soap next to the hoses. Wash shared equipment.

      • DeWolf 13:08 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        This mystifies me. Are community gardens really that crowded? The size of the plots alone seem to ensure physical distance between gardeners. As Kevin said, wouldn’t it make more sense to arrange a schedule the reduces the number of people in the garden at any time? This seems like an overreaction that will likely be revised in the coming months.

      • Kate 13:18 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        When I had a garden in the Plateau (the one at Maguire and Henri-Julien) I could be there for an hour or more in the afternoon and not see anyone else. I think there were sometimes parties or barbecues, but I never attended any group thing after the initial meeting. It wouldn’t be hard to omit the social gatherings this summer and tell people just to be sensible about distancing and washing their hands.

        DeWolf, if it’s revised any time past mid-June, it’ll be getting on for too late to start anything for our short growing season.

      • DeWolf 13:42 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        Yes, that’s been my experience whenever I’ve visited my friends’ plots. There are always a few people puttering around but it’s literally just a few people in a huge area. Unless the city also plans to close parks for the entire summer this decision seems totally arbitrary and cruel to the people who depend on the food they grow.

      • dmdiem 14:23 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        We must do something, because something must be done… That’s where stupid mistakes start to get made…

        I feel like im going to be repeating that a lot…

      • John B 14:56 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        Community gardens are not that crowded. A typical Montreal community garden is large enough that even if your neighbour is working in their garden you can stay 2m apart with a bit of common sense.

        The tricky bit is common touch points like gates, locks, hoses, and shared tools. Most gardens only have cold running water, and little to know staff available to disinfect things, or even to prevent things in demand like disinfectants or hand sanitizers from being stolen. That said, I’m pretty sure it would be possible to find a way to garden safely. I wish the city would work with the gardens to make that happen.

        That said, I’m not sure the whole season has been blown off. Gardens have been told to stop all activity until further notice, but the only thing I can find saying the whole season is gone is the headline on the article, and even then it’s not 100% clear.

      • Chris 15:09 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        The cure is starting to become worse than the disease.

      • Kate 15:30 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        That’s what Trump has been saying, Chris.

      • CE 16:14 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        Might not hurt to let the plots lie fallow for a year.

      • John B 16:18 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        The problem is that there are a lot of people, myself included, that plan for, and maybe rely on, certain foods from the garden each year. There are also crops that were planted in the fall, (like garlic), and perennial crops that are essentially sunk costs. Now, when people are out of work, isn’t the time to force them to start buying the food they used to grow for “free”.

        Also letting the beds lie fallow lets certain weeds get really well established and very difficult to eradicate. Which makes gardening harder, and therefore less accessible to people who are less physically able, when the gardens open again.

        Ideally the city would open the gardens and provide funding to put a staff member on site who works to control the number of people in the garden and assure things are disinfected.

      • Kate 16:54 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        I didn’t even think about the loss of perennials that people may have been carrying over from one summer to the next. I only had my plot for one summer.

        If those gardens are left to run riot for a whole season, a lot of effort will be lost.

      • Joey 17:34 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        The common thread in all these cancellations – closed playgrounds, community gardens, non-essential stores, etc. – is the effort to do everything possible to keep people at home and minimize the chances of incidental transmission (i.e., passing someone en route somewhere) until we have (a) herd immunity or (b) a vaccine, both of which I guess also depend on what we learn about the potential for COVID-19 reinfection.

        It’s easy to point out a bunch of obvious ways any one kind of activity can be made “coronavirus-safe” – but enacting all of those things, at least for now, would make it too easy for people to have a good reason to get out of the house and, in so doing, raise the chances of the pandemic spreading. So, yes, you can go for a walk with friends if you stay two metres apart, but the cops will still ticket you because the idea isn’t to keep people two metres apart, it’s to keep people in their homes unless necessary.

        This is not easy, not in the least, and will it only get harder as the weather improves while we flatten the curve and see significant improvement in the numbers. But it seems clear that it’s the overarching objective behind each of these decisions and also explains the reluctance among policymakers to entertain halfway solutions, even though the may seem on their face to be quite sensible.

        TL;DR community gardens are unlikely to become epicentres for transmission, but keeping people at home as much as possible is a more urgent priority for public health officials.

      • Chris 17:46 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        Kate, that’s textbook ad hominem. Anyway, even a broken clock is right twice a day. 🙂 Also note I said ‘becoming’ not ‘is’. But if we continue on this path, ticketing itinerants, etc., I worry we’ll get there.

      • Kate 19:12 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

        Chris, he did say “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem.”

      • Alison Cummins 20:34 on 2020-04-11 Permalink


        If this was going to be over in 14 days it would already be over.

        There are people who are going to go out because we need to go out. Kids need to go out. People just need to see other people. People need to use their bodies and their hands. People need to get away from the antisocial (that is, mean and aggressive) people who share their living spaces. People need to feel useful.

        If we want people to stay home, we need to give them hope that they can take a walk and get some sunshine at least sometimes. Maybe not as much as they’d like, but they need to get out. That means we need somewhere for them to go. They can’t visit eachother, which is what people normally do when they’re forced to stay indoors.

        I remember being in grade eight and the random energy the boys were constantly spinning off. Dumb jokes, building bombs, throwing eachother into lockers, breaking into off-limits spaces. They became a little more directed after that, but grade eight was chaos.

        I can’t see being a parent of people with that kind of energy, four of us in a 4 1/2, and none of us leaving the apartment *for an entire summer.* Except for the one person who does groceries once a week.

        So if we need to go out, where are we going to go? And how are we going to keep eachother safe when we’re there? Yes, shut down the indoor spaces. They are inherently high risk. But just shutting down all the outdoor spaces is not a workable plan over an extended period.

      • Kevin 00:31 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

        “ So, yes, you can go for a walk with friends if you stay two metres apart, but the cops will still ticket you because the idea isn’t to keep people two metres apart, it’s to keep people in their homes unless necessary.”

        Not quite.

        People under isolation or quarantine orders must stay home.

        Everyone else should limit physical contact with everyone else, and limit the risk of accidental exposure.

        The province’s goal is to restrain the spread of the disease so that the number of seriously ill people remains below our treatment capacity. But we are still letting it spread. Just at a slower rate.

        A lockdown would only be needed to cut off the disease entirely BECAUSE it was spreading out of control, and we’re not there yet.

        No parties, no restaurant meals, stay 2 metres from those you don’t live with, but you can socialize and talk to people without violating that.

        And we’ll be doing this for months to come.

      • Douglas 15:38 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

        The cure is 100% worst than the problem at this rate. Doctors have no idea how to stop this rationally so they impose 100% shutdown to “wait and see” how this goes.

        We just forcefully threw hundreds of millions of people into poverty so we can experiment on how to best stop this.

      • Kate 15:54 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

        Douglas, that’s not true. We know how to reduce transmission of contagion – we’re all doing it, right now. This isn’t an experiment, it’s a necessity, and it’s the only thing that works in the short term.

        As Kevin says above, some version of distancing and heightened sanitation will have to be part of our lives for a long time. Either a vaccine will be discovered, or enough people will have caught COVID-19 and recovered that herd immunity will begin to apply. Neither of these things can happen fast, and even a vaccine may only be a partial solution.

        You know what I foresee? After the summer, business is bound to put on pressure to reopen offices and factories and shops, Legault will get schools open again, and then we’ll have a second wave of illness in the fall. After that I do not know.

        But you have to understand that if we had been doing “business as usual” as some tried to do in the US, the UK or Brazil, we’d have a much higher death rate, as they do. Is that worth it? Some investors think so.

      • Tim S. 19:14 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

        The thing about “business as usual” is that there will be an economic effect anyways from so many people getting sick and taking time off, even if they don’t require hospitalization. At one point the federal government was planning on a 25% absentee rate, and I think a lot of businesses would have a hard time operating under those conditions. There’s not much slack left after years of efficiency drives. So sure, let’s find ways to adapt, to do our jobs with minimal contact, but all this “the cure is worse than the disease” stuff ignores that this is going to be a problem no matter how we approach it. We seem to have to re-learn every generation or so that we’re not actually in control of all aspects of nature.

      • Douglas 22:44 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

        A vaccine is going to take a year or more. There is no herd immunity. Everyone is at home and there are only 10 000 infections in Quebec? Let’s say there are 50 000 infections in Quebec right now. Thats .6% of the entire population and the doctors tell me there will be herd immunity afterwards. Laughable.

        The longer this goes, the more you are starving the economic oxygen out of lower and middle class. You want more poverty? More homeless people? Keep it closed.

        The craziest thing about this is that the poor and lower middle class are completely okay with having their only source of income completely shutoff for how ever long some doctor decides. First it was April 14th. And then its May 4th. And then what? Nobody as any idea. They are toying with our lives and they have no clue what is the best way to go back solving this crisis.

      • Kate 07:53 on 2020-04-13 Permalink

        Douglas, the only reason the infection rate is so low here is that everyone who can is doing the distancing and isolation thing properly.

      • ant6n 08:09 on 2020-04-13 Permalink

        In Germany, going to tend to your garden is one of the exceptions to allow you to leave the house, since it’s part of basic services (i.e. it provides food). It’s really odd that Montreal would shut this down.

      • Kevin 09:16 on 2020-04-13 Permalink

        “We just forcefully threw hundreds of millions of people into poverty. ”

        Who is “we”? Where are these hundreds of millions of people in Montreal? or Quebec? Or Canada?

        “The longer this goes, the more you are starving the economic oxygen out of lower and middle class. You want more poverty? More homeless people? Keep it closed. ”

        Apparently you missed the multiple economic programs that have been launched in addition to unemployment insurance, like the CERB and several provincial funds.

        And what exactly do you want society to do instead? Have tens of thousands of people die? (yeah, because the economy will do *great* if that number increases).

        I’m guessing you don’t trust people with medical training, and if you think this is all some sort of game where people are “toying with our lives” you’re not exactly rational.

      • John B 09:40 on 2020-04-13 Permalink

        @ant6n: I think it was shut down because the gardens are managed under the umbrella of “Sports et Loisir”, and they just shut down all Sports & Leisure facilities a couple of weeks back, when there was still a bit of snow on the ground.

        I expect that some consultation with the people who manage the gardens, as well as some lobbying from garden & food security groups, will lead to some sort of access to the gardens before summer, but we’ll see.

        From my understanding of German gardens, they’re quite a bit larger ,everyone has their own shed, (and maybe even their own fence around their plot?), and people tend to be able to drive right up to their own garden space, so there are a lot fewer common items that could spread germs from family to family than there are in Montreal gardens with their shared gates, sheds, and tools. Even with shared touch points I’m sure there’s a way to make it work safely in Montreal, if the authorities are willing to try.

      • ant6n 16:52 on 2020-04-13 Permalink

        Its true that the German gardens tend to be larger, although there are differences. The smallest gardens tend to be large enough for their own sheds and fences, but plenty of them dont have driving access. Then again, many gardens in Montreal are right in the city, where there isnt that much space, so the plots are smaller. I thought that the Montreal gardening plots did have fences around each plot (?)

        As for gardening in the time of Corona, the shared water access may be a problem. And distance in the small plots in general — then again there are rarely multiple people at the same time.

    • Kate 09:54 on 2020-04-11 Permalink | Reply  

      STM bus drivers have been told to pick up all passengers even if it risks crowding in the bus. The guideline right now is to have no more than 15 people aboard.

      • Kate 08:56 on 2020-04-11 Permalink | Reply  

        The coming of COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on the conditions in seniors’ residences where the contagion has been rife and fatal. One private Dorval home was revealed to be so badly run that the Quebec government has taken over management: the descriptions are grim.

        • dwgs 09:05 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

          Those stories from the Herron are horrific. Criminal charges should be laid.

        • Raymond Lutz 10:38 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

          Reports from France are questioning a recent decree authorizing the use of a powerful sedative for aged people suffering of acute covid-19. Est-ce pour soulager les patients en fin de vie ou pour éviter que l’affluence des malades en détresse repiratoire provenant des EHPAD ne viennent allourdir le bilan déjà désastreux du gouvernement Macron? (car les vieux qui meurent en EHPAD ne sont pas comptabilisés dans les stats officielles). Governement technocrats taking over health institutions management is not a good thing per se. Soylent Green anyone?

        • JoeNotCharles 11:44 on 2020-04-11 Permalink

          Are you saying… seniors are people?

        • Alison Cummins 07:05 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

          Raymond Lutz,

          Extrapolating from 2019’s crude death rates, over the past month about 2.6% of all deaths in Canada have been due to covid-19.

          The corresponding figure for France is 26%.

          The point of the lockdown is to *not* get to a point where we have terrible choices on our consciences.

        • Meezly 09:28 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

          It would be interesting to see data comparing covid fatalities and infected between private and gov’t run senior centres. I wonder if the negligence and mismanagement at Herron had to do with it being privately run.

        • Raymond Lutz 09:38 on 2020-04-12 Permalink

          Alison, yes, health care system saturation has dire consequences… case fatality rate goes through the roof. I remember reading transcripts of some PM Legault press conference that pre-pandemic vacant ICU beds total number (mostly in university hospitals) was about 400 beds for the province (and that they found some old, but still working respirators in storage rooms and cegeps…) “In Italy, the country outside China with the most patients with COVID-19 until March 29, 2020, up to 12% of all positive cases required ICU admission”[ 1], of course, this stat depends on age demographic and can’t be apply directly to Qc situation.

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