Designate Downtown Montreal A Region And Reopen Businesses


A popular Montreal bar in pre-COVID times

The Province of Quebec has been under strict anti-coronavirus regulations for several weeks now. These measures include a province-wide curfew. From 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. we are not allowed out. Unless you have a very good reason – and proof thereof – you are facing fines of up to $6000 should you break the curfew.

If your work has been deemed essential, and you must be out during curfew for reasons of that work, you are exempt from the penalties, assuming you can provide appropriate documentation. You can also walk your dog within a one kilometre radius of your home. No, you can’t borrow or rent a pooch to go out for a smoke.

You can also walk your dog within a one kilometre radius of your home. No, you can’t borrow or rent a pooch to go out for a smoke

Obviously, if you are out with a dog, and are approached by the police, you are going to be asked for identification. This is where I see some potential for trouble. Calls of a police state can almost be heard ringing out across the city.

How tough is the curfew being enforced? Consider that it took the provincial court to rule that you can’t enforce the curfew on homeless people. How could you possibly fine people for refusing to stay in homes that they don’t have?

The curfew covers the entire province, but there is a plea to look at things in a little more piecemeal manner. There are places, outlying areas, referred to as ‘regions’ (it works better in French, as technically everywhere is a region, but Les régions usually means those places outside of Montreal).

Many of these areas are not densely populated and are not suffering the same COVID-19 experience as folks who live in bigger cities. Many people in these almost COVID-free regions are asking to have the curfew lifted and allow store, bars and, restaurants in their area to reopen.

I therefore put forth the notion that this area be considered a ‘region’ … and suggest that the government allow the bars and restaurants in this four-square-block area to reopen

Should the government opt to heed these requests and consider lifting some of the restrictions in les régions, I hope they will consider my suggestion. Above is a map of a small section of the downtown Montreal core. It is primarily, but not entirely, non-residential. There are no elementary or high schools to be found. There is part of a university, but it is currently operating online.

As the second map indicates with a lack of a blue dot, as of January 28, 2021, this region has very few cases of COVID-19. I therefore put forth the notion that this area, which is dense with stores, bars and, restaurants, be considered a ‘region’ (perhaps name it after the Venerable Matt Talbot, patron saint for alcoholics) and suggest that the government allow these businesses in this four-square-block area to reopen. Have them, like convenience stores, close at 7:30 p.m. thereby giving folks a chance to get home before 8:00 p.m. It’s not perfect, but some business has got to be better than none. At least let these establishments open for lunchtime and afternoon drinkers.

How could you possibly fine people for refusing to stay in homes that they don’t have?

There are certainly bars and restaurants in other sections of downtown Montreal, but I’ll be happy to start with this section One has to choose one’s battles.

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+

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