Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal

Last updated

The following is a timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal.

Contents

2020

February

February 27 — Montreal confirms its first case—a 41-year-old woman from Montreal who had returned from Iran on February 24 on a flight from Doha, Qatar. [1] [2] [3]

March

March 10 — Montreal declares the city to be in "alert mode." Internal measures to ensure the resilience of services offered to the public are put in place. [4]

March 12 — Loto-Québec closes the Montreal Casino. [5]

March 13 — Mayor Valérie Plante announces the closure of 34 public arenas, 45 public libraries, 48 indoor pools, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the Montreal Planetarium. [6] François Legault, Premier of Quebec, announces the closure of schools, CEGEPs and universities until March 30. [7]

March 15 — Premier François Legault announces the closure of bars, clubs, movie theatres, gyms, and spas throughout the province of Quebec. Most recreational and leisure sites will also close, including ski hills, amusement parks, zoos, and aquariums. Indoor dining in restaurants will be permitted but limited to 50% capacity. [8]

March 16 — Montreal's Public Health Department dispatches dozens of employees to Montréal-Trudeau Airport to ask travelers to self-isolate for 14 days. [9]

March 20 — The majority of trials at the Municipal Court of Montreal are postponed. [10]

March 22 — All nine shopping centres in Montreal are ordered to close their doors until further notice. [11]

March 23 — The Service de Police de Montreal (SPVM) declare a state of emergency for an indefinite period of time in order to optimize COVID-19-related interventions. [12]

A COVID-19 testing clinic is set up in Downtown Montreal.

March 24 — Montreal announces the discovery of community transmission. The first known homeless person receives a positive diagnosis for COVID-19. [13] [14]

March 25 — The first Montrealer dies from COVID-19. [15]

March 27 — Mayor Plante declares a state of health emergency for the City of Montreal. [16]

March 28 — Montreal announces the closure of dog parks and community gardens for an indefinite period. [17]

March 31 — The Municipal Court of Montreal closes. [10]

As the Orange Line reached a point of saturation to the point of being a public health issue in April 2019, the trains, even during rush hour, were empty Orange line on March 17 around 5 p.m..jpg
As the Orange Line reached a point of saturation to the point of being a public health issue in April 2019, the trains, even during rush hour, were empty

April

April 2 — Mayor Plante announces a larger police presence in the six major parks in order to enforce physical distancing laws. The city also announces the temporary suspension of the annual indexing of it parking meters. [19] [20]

April 5 — The Mount Royal Chalet and Beaver Lake pavilion close. [21]

April 9 — La Ronde amusement park cancels the 36th edition of its fireworks competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [22]

April 10 — During his daily press briefing, François Legault floats the possibility of a return to school before May 4. [23]

April 13 — The province unveils its gradual economic reopening plan. [24]

April 20 — The lack of unanimity among CAQ MNAs and among the general population forces the government to postpone the initial date of May 4 for a return to class. [25]

April 22 — The death rate in Montreal is revealed to be four times higher than that of Toronto. [26]

April 23 — Benoit Dorais, chair of the Montreal Executive Committee, presents the city's financial report for 2019. It reports a surplus of $250.9 million. However, the health crisis could cause a loss between $93 million and $281.3 million. [27]

April 27 — Education Minister Jean-François Roberge announces that elementary students will return to class on May 11, 2020. [28]

April 30 — Mayor Plante announces that the 97 community gardens around Montreal can open starting May 4. [29] In the two last weeks of April, the Montreal region saw 1,000 weekly deaths from all causes, representing an increase of 196% over the average for previous years. Only Madrid, London and Brussels experienced a larger increase. [30]

May

Most grocery stores or pharmacies refuse entry to people with COVID-19 symptoms in Montreal Consignes pharmacies.jpg
Most grocery stores or pharmacies refuse entry to people with COVID-19 symptoms in Montreal
Prevention instructions at Maisonneuve Park Maisonneuve Park.jpg
Prevention instructions at Maisonneuve Park

May 3 — As Montrealers experienced their second day of +20 °C (68 °F) weather of the year and began crowding into parks, [31] the city announced the closure of the parking lots at La Fontaine Park, Maisonneuve Park, Jarry Park, Frédéric-Back Park, and the Île de la Visitation nature park, effective May 3, 2020. [32] [33]

May 4 — François Legault postpones the reopening of businesses in Montreal to May 11. [34] In an interview with the Téléjournal, Mayor Plante says she has already ordered 50,000 masks for the population. [35] In addition, the STM announces that 6 of their buses will be transformed into mobile testing clinics. [36] [37]

May 5 — Patients with COVID-19 in the Greater Montreal Region begin being transferred to hospitals outside the city in order to relieve some pressure on the Montreal health system. [38] The STM announces that it will start installing plexiglass panels to protect its drivers. [39]

May 6 — Mayor Plante announces that the river shuttle between Longueuil and the Old Port will be cancelled for the summer of 2020.

May 7 — The City of Montreal announces a grant of $5 million to help local merchants, cultural enterprises, and social economy businesses. The Quebec government postpones the reopening of shops, schools and daycare services in the greater Montreal region to May 25. [40] The federal government confirms that 1,020 soldiers of the Canadian Army have been deployed to 20 different long-term care homes, all in the greater Montreal area. [41]

In their second report on the evolution of the pandemic in Quebec, epidemiologists predict that the current deconfinement plan for the Greater Montreal region could result in 150 deaths per day by July 2020. [42] [43]

May 8 - The STM unveils its deconfinement plan for public transit. According to the STM, a maximum of 150 people per metro train and 15 people per bus would be necessary to enforce social distancing rules. To do this, the transport company would need 8,000 buses and 800 metro trains. The STM currently has 1,425 buses and 97 metro trains. [44]

May 10 - During the week of May 10, 267 statements of offense for non-compliance with distancing measures were submitted by the SPVM, while 199 had been issued the previous week. [45]

May 14 — During his first press conference in Montreal, Premier François Legault announces that Montreal schools will not reopen until September 2020. He also strongly recommends that users of public transport wear masks. [46] Benoit Dorais announces that "face covers" are going to be distributed starting on May 18 in the metro. [47]

May 15 — The SPVM renews its emergency hours. [48]

Premier Legault announces that the Quebec government will donate 1 million masks to Montreal, in addition to financial assistance of $6 million to various public transit organizations in the Greater Montreal region. [49]

May 17 — More than 60 Montrealers travel to Quebec City to protest the confinement in front of the National Assembly of Quebec. [50]

May 18 — In a press conference, Premier Legault maintains the reopening date of May 25 for non-essential businesses [51] that have an outdoor entrance. [52]

May 19 — Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital says they are preparing for a second wave. [53]

May 20 — The Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, allows dentists, massage therapists, optometrists and many others to resume their activities in the Greater Montreal region starting on June 1, 2020. However, hairdressing and beauty salons, as well as gymnasiums and training rooms, would remain closed until further notice. [54]

May 21 — In a press release, the City of Montreal announces the gradual reopening of sports and leisure facilities in Montreal, including community gardens, [55] skateparks, [56] golf courses, [56] tennis courts, [56] and other public spaces. [57] [58]

May 22 — At least 93 Montreal officials are confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. [59] François Legault, Marc Bergevin and Jonathan Drouin participate in the distribution of masks at the Cadillac metro station. [60]

A government decree is announced that would restrict outdoor gatherings in private locations to a maximum of ten people, although the requirement to maintain a two-meter (6') distance between people would be loosened. It is recommended, but not required, that those ten people be from no more than three households. [61] [62]

May 24 — Businesses that had been closed every Sunday by government mandate [63] are able to resume activities on Sundays. [64]

May 25 — Non-essential businesses reopen in the Greater Montreal region. The City of Montreal deploys around sixty inspectors to enforce physical distancing measures. [65]

May 26 — Despite the reopening of businesses, Mayor Plante maintains her decision to not make wearing a mask mandatory in public areas, including in the metro. [66]

May 28 — The City of Montreal urgently opens various municipal building to allow people to cool off, as Montreal experiences its first heat wave of the year, [67] [68] with temperatures regularly exceeding 30 °C (86 °F). The previous day, the second highest temperature in Montreal's entire history was recorded, at 36.6 °C (97.9 °F). [69]

The Quebec government authorizes the purchase and installation of air conditioners in CHSLDs in Montreal, [70] as only a third of rooms had air conditioning as of May 24. [67]

Screening clinic at Hotel-Dieu hospital Clinique de depistage.jpg
Screening clinic at Hôtel-Dieu hospital

May 29 — Three weeks after their second report, the INSPQ publishes their third report. [71] While the second raised the possibility of more than 10,000 new cases per day by June if Montreal's deconfinement plans were to go ahead, the May 28 report forecasted 1,000 to 1,500 new cases per day by June in the Greater Montreal region, assuming public support for distancing measures. [72] The report did not rule out the possibility that a second wave of COVID-19 could occur in the summer if physical distancing measures are poorly applied. [73]

COVID-19 street signage, May 30, Esplanade Street at Saint Viateur, Mile End. Esplanade 30 mai.jpg
COVID-19 street signage, May 30, Esplanade Street at Saint Viateur, Mile End.

May 30 — The state of emergency is renewed until June 4. [74] At the end of May, the city's death rate was higher than most American cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles. [75]

June

June 2 — Le Devoir reports that Montreal has only 150 investigators doing contract-tracing, and that 18,000 investigations have been conducted, a number deemed clearly insufficient in the event of a second wave. [76]

June 4 — The City of Montreal extends its state of emergency until June 9. [77]

June 9 — The City of Montreal extends its state of emergency until June 14. [78]

June 5 — After having received several complaints, the Montreal ombudsman launches an investigation into the hastily implemented health corridors by the City of Montreal. [79]

June 7 — Only 5 deaths and 83 new cases are confirmed, the smallest increase since early April. [80]

Between May 31 and June 7, 68 tickets were given out by the SPVM for outdoor or indoor gatherings that contravened sanitary rules. [81]

June 8 — The government announces that restaurants in Greater Montreal can open on June 22. [82] The same day, Quebec's national public health director, Horacio Arruda, said that the situation in Montreal was "under control." [83] However, a publicist from the amusement chain Six Flags, owner of La Ronde since 2001, confirmed to the 24 Heures newspaper that the Quebec government had not yet authorized La Ronde to open its doors. [84]

In the weekly pandemic survey presented by Léger, 72% of Quebec respondents were of the opinion that there would be a second wave. [85]

June 10 — The City of Montreal announces the reopening of the Montreal Botanical Garden on June 15. [86] No reopening date was announced for other large parks in the city, whose parking lots have been closed since May 3. [87]

June 11 — Horacio Arruda rules out the possibility of a total lockdown in the event of a second wave. [88]

June 12 — The Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon, announces the reopening of malls in Montreal on June 19. [89]

June 13 — 60 Dollarama employees demonstrate in Montreal to demand better health and safety measures to fight COVID-19. [90]

June 14 — The City of Montreal extends its state of emergency until June 19; [91]

June 15 — Montreal barbershops and hair salons are able to reopen. [92] The Montreal Botanical Garden also reopens. [93]

The government of Quebec pledges $500,000 to help raise awareness of COVID-19 in Montreal through interventions like the distribution of masks. [94]

June 16 — 35 workplace-related outbreaks are active in Montreal. Between June 6 and June 16, fewer than 100 cases were recorded per day in Montreal. [95]

The government announces that June 19 will be the last day of operation for the five mobile testing centres in Montreal, which have been operational since mid-May 2020. [96]

June 17 — The Journal des Voisins learns that modular units are going to be installed at the end of the summer in the parking lot of the Sacré-Coeur hospital in order to accommodate 100 patients in the event of a second wave of COVID-19. [97]

Horacio Arruda announces that places of worship can hold indoor gatherings of up to 50 people from June 22 onwards. [98]

Amidst a second heat wave in the city, [99] the director of public health, Dr. Mylène Drouin, affirms that they have followed through with their plan to install air-conditioners in CHSLDs. [100]

June 18 — The parking lots of major Montreal parks are permitted to reopen. [101]

June 19 — The City of Montreal extends its state of emergency until June 23. [102]

The government of Quebec authorizes family visits to private seniors' homes (RPAs) that do not have a COVID-19 outbreak, starting on June 26. [103] The day before, a similar measure had been announced for CHSLDs. [104]

June 22 — The following establishments reopen: [105]

For the first time since March 22, no new deaths are recorded in Quebec. [110]

June 23 — The City of Montreal extends its state of emergency until June 28. [111]

June 24 — Quebec announces on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day that it would stop publishing the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 daily and instead do so on a weekly basis. [112] [113]

June 25 — Horacio Arruda announces the immediate reopening of bars, spas, water parks, casinos and other tourist attractions. [114]

Quebec announces that Montreal's Grande Bibliothèque will start gradually reopening on July 2. [115]

June 26 — Following criticism from the public, the new Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, announces via his Twitter account that daily reporting will start again on June 29. [116]

A survey presented by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and carried out by L'Observateur reveals that only 42% of Quebecers said that they regularly wear a mask in public. [117] The weekly survey by Léger produced similar results, finding that approximately 55% of Quebecers wear a mask at the grocery store, while only 18% wear a mask on public transit. [118]

June 29 — Saint Joseph's Oratory reopens its doors to the public. [119]

July

July 1 — The City of Montreal extends its state of emergency for five more days. [120] The state of emergency was subsequently renewed five times in July, the last time being on July 30. [121]

July 6 — Mayor Valérie Plante announces that masks will become mandatory in all closed public places in Montreal at the end of July. [122]

July 10 — Bars in Quebec can no longer serve alcohol after midnight and customers must leave the establishment by 1 a.m. [123]

July 12 — Montrealers who have frequented a bar in the metropolitan area are implored to get tested for COVID-19. [124] Since July 1, at least eight customers or employees of five bars have already tested positive for COVID-19. [125]

July 13 — La Ronde announces that it will be reopening on July 25 with limited capacity and new health and safety measures. [126]

July 14 — At least 30 cases from nine different bars are detected in Montreal since July 11. Although public health did not release the names of these bars, some employees or customers posted them on social media. This was the case with bar Annie's, in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue; Nacho Libre bar and Lézard coffee in Rosemont and La Voûte nightclub in Old Montreal. [127]

July 17 — The Regional Directorate of Public Health announces that three new COVID-19 walk-in screening clinics are open. [128] [129] Premier Legault suggests that the spread of the virus is not linked to bars, but rather to private parties. [130]

July 18 — Masks become mandatory in closed public spaces for everyone over the age of 12. Businesses can be fined up to $6,000 if they allow customers to violate this health order. Quebec becomes the first Canadian province to enact such an order. [131]

July 23 — The Quebec government announces that the number of people who can attend indoor and outdoor gatherings in a public place will increase from 50 to 250 people starting on August 3, 2020. People must sit at least 1.5 meters from each other, unless they are part of the same household, before removing their face coverings. They will have to put their mask back on before moving again. [132]

July 25 — A hundred people demonstrate at the foot of the George-Étienne Cartier monument on Mount Royal against the obligation to wear a mask. [133]

Towards the end of July, some Montrealers who had been tested for COVID-19 had to wait more than five days to get their result. [134]

July 31 — In order to deal with a possible second wave, Medicom Group, a company established on the island of Montreal, starts manufacturing N95 masks. [135]

August

August 5 — A seroprevalence study of blood donors carried out by Héma-Québec shows that 3.05% of Montrealers who participated in the study had contracted COVID-19. [136]

August 7 — Dr. Mylène Drouin, director of public health in Montreal, in a press conference with Dr. Horracio Arruda, declares that they are ready for the worst in the event of a second wave, which could occur at the start of autumn. [137]

August 8 — A march against sanitary measures brings together hundreds of demonstrators. [138]

August 20 — Mayor Plante denounces the August 16 party organized at the foot of Mount Royal where approximately 2,000 people gathered between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. [139]

August 24 — Montreal Public Health asks that anyone who has participated in Latin dance events, indoors or outdoors, since July 31 get tested for COVID-19; a person who had participated in activities at Lafontaine Park and Verdun Park tested positive for COVID-19. [140]

September

September 8 — The Mayor of Longueuil, Sylvie Parent, tests positive for COVID-19. [141]

September 30 — Montreal and its surrounding areas enter the red zone as new cases climb to over 1,000 per day in the province. House visits are banned with few exceptions. Restaurants, bars, movie theatres, museums and other indoor public spaces are ordered to close down to prevent the spread of the virus, though restaurants can still provide take-out and delivery services. Places of worship are limited to 25 people. [142]

October

October 5 — As the positivity rate reached 6% in the province, [143] the government announced new measures for regions in the red zone including closing gyms, prohibiting team sports, and requiring that high school students wear masks. The restrictions should be in effect from October 8 to October 28. [144]

October 15 — Premier Legault announces that trick-or-treating will be permitted in all zones of the province, as long as physical distancing is observed and groups consist only of those living in the same household. [145]

October 26 — Two days before red zone restrictions are meant to expire, the Quebec government extends them for another 4 weeks, until November 23. [146]

November

November 19 — Premier Legault announces that restrictions in the red zone will be extended to January 11, 2021. [147]

December

December 10 — Montreal registers a record 648 new cases of COVID-19. [148]

December 24 — Seniors living in CHSLDs in red zones are allowed to have visits only from their regular caregivers. These visits are limited to 1 per 24 hours and caregivers have to book an appointment. Gift exchanges between people who do not live together are permitted as long as they take place outdoors and the participants wash their hands before and after handling gifts, ensuring to maintain a distance of 2 meters and wear a mask. [149]

December 25 — Montrealers are not able to hold private gatherings for Christmas or New Years, with celebrations being restricted to their own family "bubble", defined as those who live at the same address. [150] However, between December 17, 2020 and January 10, 2021, single-parent households and people who live alone were permitted to join one other family's bubble. [151]

December 28 — The record set by the city on December 10 continued to be repeatedly broken over the course of the month, reaching a high of 968 new cases on December 28. [152] [153]

December 31 — By the end of the month, the city had opened five vaccination centres and over 6,000 Montrealers had been vaccinated against COVID-19. [154] [155]

2021

January

January 6 — Legault announces that the lockdown will be extended for another four weeks and a curfew from 8:00 p.m to 5:00 a.m will be in effect starting January 9. Additionally, although elementary schools will open as planned on January 11, high schools will remain closed until January 18. [156] [157]

January 11 — Elementary schools reopen. [158]

January 18 — Montreal records less than 500 daily new cases for the first time since December. [159]

February

February 10 — Seven cases of the British variant are confirmed in Montreal, in addition to 2 cases of other variants. 35 suspected cases are under investigation. [160] [161]

February 11 — Minister Dubé reveals that only 8.5% of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quebec are tested for variants, adding that his government plans to start testing every positive case in Montreal for variants by the end of next week. [162] [163]

February 12 — The number of total cases in Montreal surpasses 100,000. [164]

March

March 1 — Montrealers in the general population aged 80 and older begin to receive vaccinations at sites across the city, including at the Olympic Stadium and the Palais des congrès de Montréal. [165] Additionally, Montrealers in the next priority group, which includes those aged 70 to 79, become able to make reservations to get vaccinated. [166]

March 12 — Vaccination appointments for Montrealers aged 65 and older become available. [167]

March 17 — The curfew in Montreal is pushed to 9:30 p.m. [168]

March 26 — Gyms, theatres, and show venues reopen. [169] [168]

April

April 8 — The easing of restrictions is rolled back as a "preventative" measure. Gyms are ordered to close, although other indoor sports facilities, like pools and ice rinks, can remain open. Religious gatherings are limited to 25 people, down from 100. [170]

April 11 — The curfew returns to 8:00 p.m.; [171] hundreds of people gather in Old Montreal after 8:00 p.m. in protest, with some protesters smashing store windows and setting garbage cans on fire. [172]

April 12 — High school students return to a hybrid learning model, attending school in-person every second day. Extracurricular activities are also cancelled. [170]

April 21 — Drop-in vaccination sites for the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine open across the city [173] following the announcement that the minimum age for the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine would be lowered to 45 years old in Quebec. [174]

April 23 — Only two days after they had opened, drop-in vaccination sites for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are forced to close, as all available doses had been administered. Scheduled vaccination appointments, however, will continue as before. [175] [176]

April 28 — The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, held in Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is cancelled for a second year in a row due to the pandemic. [177]

May

May 1 — Thousands of people gather at the Olympic Stadium in protest of sanitary measures, with some protesters having travelled to Montreal from other areas of Quebec in order to attend. The protest forces the temporary interruption of vaccinations at the Olympic Stadium, one of the largest vaccination sites in Montreal. [178]

May 3 — The curfew in Montreal and Laval is pushed to 9:30 p.m. [179]

May 7 — Approximately five people who had ridden a bus to Montreal in order to attend the May 1 protest against sanitary measures test positive for COVID-19. Health authorities encourage other bus-goers to get tested. [180]

May 13 — Drop-in vaccination opens at the Palais des congrès. [181]

May 19 — In light of the cancellation of the 2021 Canadian Grand Prix due to the pandemic, Minister Dubé and Mayor Plante announce the opening of a vaccination clinic at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that will welcome both vehicles and cyclists. The clinic is set to open on May 29 and will run every weekend until June 13. [182]

May 28 — The curfew ends. Restaurant patios, stadiums, and venues are permitted to reopen with a limited number of occupants, enabling up to 2,500 Montrealers to watch the Montreal Canadiens play in the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Bell Centre. This would be the first time fans have been allowed into the stands of an NHL game in Canada since the beginning of the pandemic. [183] Private outdoor gatherings also become permitted, with either a maximum of 8 people from different households or the entirety of two households. [184]

June

June 2 — A midnight curfew is put in place in the Old Port of Montreal in order to discourage the large and disorderly parties that have been taking place since the end of the curfew. [185] [186]

June 5 — Thousands of people attend a protest calling for the end of health restrictions. [187]

June 6 — A heat wave forces the city to open public facilities, like waterparks, earlier than planned. Additionally, the hours of operation for pools are extended. [188]

June 7 — Montreal and Laval enter the orange zone, meaning that gyms and dine-in restaurants can re-open. [189]

June 14 — Montreal and Laval enter the yellow zone, meaning that bars can fully open, residents from up to two households can gather indoors, and masks can be taken off in workplaces under certain conditions. [190] [191] Additionally, the hours of operation for bars are extended. Bars can now serve alcohol until midnight and close at 2:00 a.m. [192]

June 15 — The Montreal Marathon, which was supposed to take place on September 24-26, is cancelled for the second year in a row. [193]

June 28 — With 25% of Montrealers fully vaccinated, [194] Montreal enters the green zone, allowing for up to 20 people at outdoor private gatherings and up to 250 people at weddings and funerals. [195] [196]

August

August 23 — The state of emergency that was declared on March 27, 2020 comes to an end. [197]

August 28 — Thousands of people gather at Maisonneuve Park to protest the mandatory vaccination of healthcare and education workers. [198]

December

December 18 — Mayor Plante tests positive for COVID-19. [199]

December 20 — Under new province-wide restrictions, bars, taverns, casinos, gyms, and theatres in Montreal close. [200]

December 21 — The local state of emergency is reactivated after being suspended in August. [201]

See also

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