Montreal-area retail stores reopen as coronavirus lockdown eases

Businesses in the Greater Montreal area are reopening on Monday after they were forced to close in late March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The region is the last in Quebec, the province hardest hit by the health crisis, to reopen retail stores so long as they have an outdoor entrance and can ensure physical distancing. Shopping malls are still closed.

The reopening doesn’t necessarily mean that stores will operate the way they did before COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, bore down on Montreal.

READ MORE: Excitement, nervousness among Montreal retailers preparing to reopen

Some retailers are opting for extra protective measures, such as plexiglass and no-touch browsing.

Earlier this month, retail stores opened in other parts of the province less affected by the pandemic. Business owners have noticed a few differences, including slower sales and a change in customer habits.

The reopening of retail stores in Montreal comes as the Quebec government continues to ease restrictions aimed at the containing the virus.

READ MORE: Montrealers happy with the eased restrictions but worry about second wave

As of last week, outdoor gatherings of a maximum of 10 people are permitted. Other kinds of businesses, such as spas and private health services, are expected to resume operations next week in most areas.

Daycares are expected to open in the region, which remains the epicentre of the virus’s outbreak in Canada, next week.

Quebec leads the country when it comes to caseload at 47,411 infections as of Sunday. The province also accounts for the most deaths attributable to COVID-19 with 3,984 fatalities.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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