Libraries across Quebec—even in the greater Montreal area—will be able to reopen this Friday, May 29, according to an announcement from the Quebec Culture and Communications Minister Nathalie Roy this past Friday. What Montrealers need to know, however, is that these institutions will be operating in a much different capacity when they do.
According to the safety measures laid out by the CNESST, the public will only be permitted to access designated areas around service counters to get library cards, take out materials and so forth, and will not be able to browse for books. Access to the interior of libraries remains restricted with the exception of authorized personnel, and visitors cannot use library resoucres like computers until further notice.
It'll be a burden on library employees and Montrealers who want specific books as well, as the CNESST recommends that returned books are not to be touched for 24 hours once entering the building.
If Montrealers find themselves concerned about receiving books from the library in the first place, however, the CDC has clarified that—while possible—this is not the main way the virus spreads. "Based on data from lab studies on COVID-19 and what we know about similar respiratory diseases, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes," the release from May 22 reads, "but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads."
"I am convinced that the guide and the tools published by the CNESST will make museums and libraries safe, both for workers and for the people who visit them," said Quebec's Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity Jean Boulet in a press release from May 22.