Quebec delays until May 18 reopening of businesses in hard hit Montreal

Retail stores outside the greater Montreal area have been allowed to reopen after weeks of forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that while the hospital situation is now under control, there aren't enough empty beds to accommodate a surge in patients after more people go out and get sick.

"As of April 30, there are still far too many unknowns that compromise the ability of school boards to safely and effectively reopen schools. We believe that local school boards are best placed to determine when and under what conditions schools and centres should open".

Quebec province has racked up more than half of Canada's 3,900 coronavirus deaths and 66,000 infections, the vast majority of them in Montreal, which has become the country's epicenter for the outbreak.

Ontario, the other epicentre for the virus, is allowing a small list of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic vehicle washes.

The number of cases in hospital is stable, but has not declined as hoped, he said.

Quebec is allowing stores with an outside entrance for customers to reopen but this does not apply to Montreal, Canada's second largest city, where retail establishments must wait till May 11.

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For the moment, Legault chose not to change that date for Montreal, but said he would make a "data-driven decision" based on the numbers in the coming days.

Quebec's English-language school boards don't have the right to refuse to reopen their elementary schools, Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said Sunday on the eve of the province's gradual economic relaunch.

"It's tough on kids, they want to see their friends", Trudeau said.

Vincent suggested authorities could look into innovative solutions, such as curbside pickup, to allow stores in Montreal to resume business while maintaining distancing.

The province now has 31,865 cases and 2,205 deaths, the latter an increase of 69 over a day prior.

The move has faced some backlash and certain school boards say they may not be able to reopen by the dates the government has set.

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