Police officers in Terrebonne and Montreal are saluting frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis in their own way.
Once their shift was done on Thursday, Terrebonne police officers drove by the Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital in a caravan.
“We had warned the hospital a lot of police cars would be driving by so they didn’t worry, we just didn’t tell them why,” said Terrebonne police spokesperson Captain Joël Lamarche.
They lined up on the street –respecting social distancing measures– in front of the emergency room and displayed five letters spelling ‘MERCI’ — which is ‘thank you’ in French.
Lamarche said they were inspired by seeing people cheering for frontline workers from their balconies in Europe.
While their drive-by was conducted in front of the hospital, the message of encouragement is intended for all workers providing essential services during the pandemic.
“It’s for everyone. The garbage collectors, grocery store clerks, health care workers, firefighters, the media, our colleagues… all the essential workers during this crisis,” Lamarche said.
A video of the tribute captured and posted on social media has been shared thousands of times and gathered thousands of comments in support.
“Certain comments gave us chills,” said Lamarche of the positive feedback they received.
Terrebonne police is also displaying rainbow stickers on their patrol cars that say “everything will be O.K.” as a way to keep everyone’s spirits uplifted.
On Friday morning, Lachine hospital workers were also surprised by Montreal police (SPVM) officers who carried out a similar gesture.
SPVM officers from Station 8 in Lachine lined up in front of the hospital to applaud the staff’s work, prompting social media posts thanking police in return.
“We feel their solidarity. It’s an incredibly appreciated gesture,” Chantal Goulet Larivière, who works as an auxiliary nurse at the Lachine hospital, told Global News.
The borough mayor of Lachine also took to social media to commend the initiative.
“Thank you to all those in the front lines for us,” said Lachine borough mayor Maja Vodanovic on a Facebook post.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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