Montreal outdoor pools, some air-conditioned spaces to reopen with distancing rules amid heat wave
MONTREAL -- Montreal is going into an “alert mode” with this week’s heat wave, opening up certain facilities and services to help people stay cool, including outdoor pools, for the first time this summer.
There will be some air-conditioned spaces open to the public as of June 20, the city said in a press release.
These spots will be set up to allow people to be inside while staying in compliance with public health recommendations. An online map will allow people to keep checking what’s open near their homes, along with their opening hours.
The city also wants to remind the public that malls will be open again as of Friday. Mall owners told CTV on Wednesday that they were planning to keep traffic moving throughout the mall rather than allowing people to congregate, but they also have a host of public health measures in place to limit infection.
The city wrote in its release that people will “be able to take advantage of [malls] to cool off, while making sure to follow the instructions.”
Most of Montreal's libraries will not be among the spaces where people can gather. They aren’t permitted to “accommodate a large number of people at a time,” said city spokeswoman Marilyne Laroche Corbeil.
People can only borrow and return books through a contactless system, she said, and cannot remain inside the building. However, the heatwave map shows that a small minority of libraries have been designated as cooling centres.
The city has an online map to show splash pads, including some that have been opened only temporarily because of the high temperatures, it said.
Montreal is planning to gradually open its outdoor pools and some wading pools as of Saturday, June 20. The same map will show which pools have been opened from day to day.
The province announced on May 30 that outdoor pools would be permitted to reopen.
DISTANCING AT POOLS
New health measures will be enforced at pools, city authorities say.
• Before visiting pools, Montrealers are asked to assess their own health and stay home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or any reason to think they’ve been infected. Access will be prohibited for people who have symptoms, who have been in contact with a case of the virus, or who have returned from a trip outside Canada in the last 14 days.
• Rather than getting ready once at the pool, the city asks people to do everything possible before leaving home: take a shower, put on sunscreen your swimsuit before arriving.
• Changing rooms will be closed, but the toilets will be available.
• People will be asked to wash their hands before and after swimming.
• Visitors must listen to and respect staff’s instructions around physical distancing at all times.
In addition, some boroughs will have to control people’s use of pools further in order to allow as many citizens as possible to benefit from the facilities, the city wrote. The full rules can be read here.
Beaches and other public and private nature spots have the province’s go-ahead to open beginning Monday, June 22.
In light of this, the beach at the Cap-Saint-Jacques Nature Park will be open and lifeguarded from June 22. However, the beach at the Cap-Saint-Jacques outdoor center, which is reserved for groups, will however be closed all summer.
The opening dates of the beaches at L’Île-Bizard and in Verdun will be announced soon, the city said.
It’s possible that Jean-Doré beach at Parc Jean-Drapeau will be reopening soon, as the city is evaluating it, said the release.
City health authorities also want to remind people that lineups outside stores are to be expected these days, and it’s important to bring a water bottle and hat. People are reminded to drink water frequently without waiting to feel thirsty.
The City of Montreal activates a special action plan whenever a certain threshold of extreme heat is reached: either when the weighted average of the temperatures forecast over three days is 33 degrees or above, with the nights at 20 degrees or above, or when the temperature at night is above 25 degrees for two nights in a row.
Watch the video above to see how Montrealers kept cool on Thursday, as the heat wave began.