----- How's Gatineau doing for pandemic safety?
On a long weekend of pandemic touristing, we were struck how different cities within our province are adapting to the pandemic. In Trois-Rivieres, where we stopped for lunch, the downtown Main Street has been shut down to favour outdoor patio expansion and to allow for greater physical distancing by pedestrians. In addition, hand-washing stations have been installed at fire hydrants with lots of soap and paper towels. Visitors to the bustling, exclusively pedestrian section are encouraged to wash their hand before entering. Since the only access is by foot, there is a high compliance rate.
In Quebec City, the adaptations are less, but several streets in the Vieux have been shut down for strictly pedestrian access. This is a good thing since the sidewalks are narrow and the city is bustling with people.
Now to Gatineau, where there has been no noticeable change apart from mandatory masks in public indoor spaces, mandated by the province, and the closing of drinking fountains for public health. In a world where everyday we weigh the risks of all activities and the prospect of having some of our liberties taken away, what is Gatineau waiting for to reduce risk, encourage the local economy and give something to its residents? Our city has lost its way and with many months of pandemic still to come, I can only hope that they take this time to become more creative and citizen-focused.