May 4, 2020 9:08

Quebec, the province hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, has started to roll out the first phase of its recovery plan but the government has decided to postpone part of its strategy for Montreal.

Premier François Legault said on Monday that retail stores in Montreal and the surrounding areas will open on May 18, one week later than previously announced.

“The situation is under control in the rest of Quebec, outside of Greater Montreal,” he said.

The decision comes as retail stores in other parts of Quebec reopened on Monday as the province scales back measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, throughout the month of May.

Traffic restrictions were also lifted in several regions earlier in the day, including the Laurentians, Lanaudière and Chaudière-Appalaches.

Legault said elementary schools and daycares are still set to reopen in Montreal on May 19 as planned, but that could change depending what happens in the next two weeks.

“We will follow the situation very closely and take a data-driven decision,” he said.

The province’s official Opposition earlier called on the government to push back the dates for reopening businesses and schools in the Montreal area. Quebec Liberal Leader Pierre Arcand says it’s too early to consider easing COVID-19 containment measures in the city.

As of Monday, there are 32,623 cases of COVID-19 in Quebec, an increase of 758 from the previous day. The island of Montreal accounts for about half of the total number of infections.

The majority of the 1,772 people hospitalized are in Montreal, according to Legault.

“We see that there are enough beds outside of the Greater Montreal area, but it remains very tight in Montreal,” he said.

sources :q107. , globalnews