Can Physical Distancing And Retail Shopping Coexist?


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Ste. Catherine Street/Montreal Gazette,

Let the shopping begin … or resume. Today is the long-awaited day when Montreal stores, those with dedicated entrances from the sidewalk, not those located in malls, can reopen. Back to normal you say. Nope.

There is something wrong with governments that implore people to both practice social distancing and take public transit

The city has engaged sixty additional security staff to make the rounds of stores to make certain COVID-19 regulations are being observed. The number of people allowed into a store at one time will be limited. Shoppers will be strongly urged to wear masks and maintain social distancing procedures. Ideally ‘shopping’ will be more of a grab-pay-dash activity.

While I fear this reopening is premature, I wish all the shopowners the very best of luck. If your place of business is downtown, you’re going to need it!

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Photo by Shinya Suzuki (Flickr Creative Commons)

I went for a stroll on Saturday, a beautiful hot sunny day. As the old saying goes you could have fired a cannon down Ste. Catherine without causing anyone any harm. Except for the fact that longs tracts of the street are torn-up by roadwork that has been in abeyance during the lockdown.

One of the nice things about the pause in economic activity was the absolute plethora of available parking spots downtown. Unfortunately once you parked there was nothing to do. Stores, restaurants, and bars were all closed. But I have a feeling the few remaining spots, those that have not fallen victim to roadwork, BIXI stands or security measure (the U.S. Consulate alone costs the better part of two streets worth of parking spots).

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The United States Consulate in Montreal

So while merchants are eager to get back to business, and shoppers have money burning a hole in their pockets, keep in mind that the old downtown problem – parking – is not any better, and may well be worse than before the shutdown. I fear that many people with the ability to drive, will, more so than ever, ignore please to use public transit.

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A normal day on Montreal’s Metro, and a COVID-19 day. Will things go back? Can physical distancing work?

There is something wrong with governments that implore people to both practice social distancing and take public transit.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

One thought on “Can Physical Distancing And Retail Shopping Coexist?

  1. You know, the MOST bizarre part of this is that the malls have been DYING. There a kiosk in a nearby mall that changes batteries in watches. Garry and I have been there when the mall — and on weekend — was literally empty except for us and maybe another couple. The stores are empty.

    Retail is dying, but now everyone wants to run out and do what they ‘ve been avoiding doing for the past decade? Are the totally mental?

    And again I say, “HUH?”

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