Montreal closes Mount Royal parking in effort to limit crowds during pandemic

With COVID-19 cases high and the Montreal region considered a red zone, city officials have decided to once again close the parking lots on Mount Royal — a park made even more popular under the ban on home gatherings.

With restaurants closed and home gatherings banned, citizens again flock to the parks

With crowds of people flocking to Mount Royal Park, the city has decided to close the parking lots to limit access. (Jacaudrey Charbonneau/Radio-Canada)

With COVID-19 cases high and the Montreal region considered a red zone, city officials have decided to once again close the parking lots on Mount Royal — a park made even more popular than ever under the ban on home gatherings.

"Unfortunately, as the traffic on Mount Royal is too high to comply with distancing measures, we must temporarily close the parking lot for Mount Royal Park," the city wrote on Twitter Monday without clarifying when it will reopen.

This isn't the first time parking on Mount Royal has been closed during the pandemic.

The city did the same back in April, while blocking access to Île Notre-Dame altogether.

The Plante administration also cordoned off the Old Port last spring, begging people to stay in their own neighbourhoods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and only head out for essential services.

Nowadays, stores and schools remain open. Places like Ikea are packed to the gills with shoppers, but gyms, bars, restaurant dining rooms and theatres are all closed.

Getting together for a turkey dinner at a relative's home could lead to fines in Quebec's red zones, and playing certain sports is not allowed.

This partial lockdown has led to tense social media debates and confusion, but the government's underlying message has remained clear: Stay home as much as possible, avoid social contacts and wash your hands to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is again encouraging residents to stay in their local parks rather than to travel to others.

"On this sunny Thanksgiving Monday, let's do our part to flatten the curve," she wrote on Twitter.

"Let's take care of ourselves and everyone by choosing our local parks over crowding spaces like Mount Royal and to limit our social contact. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!"

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