MONTREAL -- It's hot out there -- and with many of the regular air-conditioned go-tos (movie theatres, shopping malls, swimming pools) are closed, Montrealers need other options to cool off.

Now the City of Montreal has opened some of its splash pads and also set up cooling stations so residents can make it through this heat wave comfortably, or at least as comfortably as possible.


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The city says that with the splash pads, it trusts parents to make sure their kids are keeping distance from each other in accordance with public health rules for COVID-19.

In reality, it’s not so easy, though they’re trying, parents said Wednesday. But still, as far as health risks go, the weather poses its own.

Wednesday reached a record high of 36.6 degrees—the second-highest temperature ever recorded in Montreal, let alone the hottest in May.

That is guiding the city’s decisions on whether, and where, to open splash pads. The borough of NDG-Cote-des-Neiges, for example, decided to open ones in lower-income areas first, trying to help families who have fewer ways to escape the heat at home.

The borough is asking families that have backyards and sprinklers to avoid visiting the splash pads to leave more space for those who need them. But if it seems to be going well, says borough mayor Sue Montgomery, they may soon open public pools.

“We’re aiming to open pools June 20th,” she said, “but everything is dependent on the health department, the COVID numbers—if we start seeing numbers going up then we may have to pull back on that.” 

Parents at the Parc Benny splash pad said Wednesday that asking their kids to distance wasn’t always going so well.

“The government rule is two metres between all people, but sometimes it’s not possible,” said one dad.

But he added he was willing to take the risk in order to help his kids stay cool.

A mom at the park said that even though the kids were all playing with the same equipment, it wasn’t possible to get them to wash their hands in between each time they touched.

There is some good news about the coronavirus and public pools and splash pads, though. The Center for Disease Control in the United States says there’s “no evidence” that the virus can spread through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas, as long as the water is treated.

“Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water,” the agency says. 

Don't forget to follow these tips from the city:

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, and don't wait to be thirsty.
  • Rest in a cool place with air conditioning or in the shade, to help your body regain its temperature (two hours a day).
  • Wear light, light-coloured clothing.
  • Reduce your physical efforts, especially in the middle of the day, when it is warmest.
  • Take a cool shower or bath or cool off with a wet towel.
  • Call your loved ones to check in, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.