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COVID-19 - The urban agglomeration of Montréal declares the state of emergency

27 mars 2020

Montréal, le 27 mars 2020 - The urban agglomeration of Montréal has declared the state of emergency today, at 4 p.m., and for a period of 48 hours, as requested by the national director of public health of Québec. The state of emergency will enable the urban agglomeration to mobilize the necessary resources and workforce to fight COVID-19 across its territory.   

“This Thursday, the regional public health department (Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal) was mandated by the national director of public health of Québec, Dr. Horacio Arruda, to develop a regional action plan to manage the state of health emergency in Montréal. First and foremost, I would like to reassure Montrealers that our urban agglomeration is not quarantined. However, I do want to reiterate to our population the importance of applying the social distancing rules that have been prescribed over the past few days. Tomorrow, I will be announcing the detailed measures put in place by the regional public health department,” stated Dr. Mylène Drouin, regional public health director of Montréal.

“Since the beginning of this crisis, we have been working in close collaboration with our team of experts from the city's emergency preparedness coordination centre (Centre de coordination des mesures d'urgence), the regional public health department and the health network to make the best decisions. Given the evolution of the situation, more particularly the challenges facing Montréal's homeless population, we must now take on exceptional powers in order to increase our agility. Today, the most vulnerable members of our society need us. The state of emergency will provide us with the necessary flexibility to respond more efficiently, in collaboration with our partners,” explained Mayor Valérie Plante.

Emergency measures for the homeless community

The urban agglomeration of Montréal and the health network are hard at work to support our city's homeless population, and to help all organizations providing services to the homeless. Faced with the challenges ensuing from the current pandemic for shelters and day centres, new measures must be put in place. New temporary shelters will be opening shortly, in addition to the two opened this week: located at the Downtown YMCA and Complexe Guy-Favreau.   

The urban agglomeration also aims to create outdoor day centres in order to meet the basic needs of homeless people, as well as to ensure a harmonious sharing of the city's public areas. The first centre will open at Square Cabot, in collaboration with Résilience Montréal. A second facility, located at Place Émilie-Gamelin, will also open within the next few days.

The state of emergency

The mayor may use special powers to declare the state of emergency within the urban agglomeration of Montréal if one of the following conditions is met:  

  • The urban agglomeration is facing and actual or imminent major disaster
  • The urban agglomeration must take immediate action to protect human life, health or integrity  
  • The emergency preparedness plan of the urban agglomeration of Montréal, or its normal operating rules do not allow it to take the immediate necessary action

In this case, the state of emergency was declared for 48 hrs. The urban agglomeration council may, at its special meeting scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 29, 2020, decide on a 5-day extension.

Montréal's website: https://montreal.ca/en/

To find out more about prevention tips: Santé Montréal 

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