The mood was calm in grocery stores a few hours before curfew as some feared crowds and last-minute queues due to the reduced hours.
“It was a lot more empty than anything. I expected there to be a small queue, ”said Mathilde Montambeault, a customer who came to do her last minute shopping at the Metro grocery store on rue de l’Église in Montreal. .
All across Quebec, businesses must close their doors at 7:30 p.m. in order to comply with the curfew. This includes grocery stores and convenience stores, which raised fears of some congestion.
“At supper time, we had more people, the traffic was more condensed at the time, but otherwise it was as usual”, explains Alexandre Langlois, manager of the IGA Poulin, on boulevard Wilfrid -Hamel, in Quebec.
“Overall, it was very calm. We are very happy with the behavior of Quebeckers. They were wise, ”confirms Jean-François Belleau, spokesperson for the Retail Council of Canada.
Like several employees interviewed in the field, he feels like consumers made sure to shop earlier in the day.
Convenience stores still had a “rush” of tobacco and alcohol sales just before 8 p.m. struck. This is the case with Couche-Tard located at the corner of Pierre-Bertrand and Wilfrid-Hamel boulevards.
“Between 7:30 pm and 7:45 pm, there were lots of people coming to buy them. In 15 minutes, I had 20-25 clients just for that, whereas I usually have one every five minutes at that time, ”suggests the clerk, Xavier Dumont.
The newspaper went to spend the first hour of the curfew at the Pharmaprix on Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, in Montreal, pharmacies being the only businesses exempt from closure, along with gas stations.
While most of the city will sleep, this pharmacy will be the only one in the metropolis to be open 24 hours to respond to emergencies during the month of curfew.
About ten clients showed up between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., including several who were heading directly to the prescription counter.
This is the case of Ezzoubi Ouassil, 21, who finished work at 8 p.m. and who came to get medication for bronchitis. Asked by The newspaper, he said he was rather zen to circulate after the curfew by displaying his bill well.
Photo Dominique Scali
Nabil Chick, of the Pharmaprix on Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, in Montreal, runs the only pharmacy that was open 24 hours a day in Montreal on the first night of the curfew.
In normal times, about fifty customers would have gone through the store during the same period, estimates Nabil Chikh, pharmacist-owner. He expects to see mostly parents of young children with fever or lack of diapers.
Remains that a customer crossed by The newspaper outside seemed uninformed of the rules surrounding the curfew.
“I came to buy something to eat,” he admitted candidly.