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Montreal turns stretch of Crescent into pedestrian-only street amid coronavirus pandemic

A man walks past closed bars and restaurants on Crescent Street Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Montreal.
A man walks past closed bars and restaurants on Crescent Street Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Montreal. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

A stretch of Crescent Street will only be accessible to pedestrians beginning Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues.

The City of Montreal announced the same day the once-bustling commercial strip will be off limits to cars between de Maisonneuve Boulevard and Ste-Catherine Street.

In a statement, Mayor Valérie Plante said the measure comes at the request of the Crescent Street Merchants Association.

“Montrealers will be able to benefit from an additional space in the city centre, where it will be nice to encourage the local economy, to eat, or simply to get outdoors,” she said.

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Sandy Greene, head of the Crescent Street Merchants Association, said the plan will help boost business for merchants struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

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The move comes the same day that the Canadian Grand Prix was cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. The annual race usually brings thousands of tourists to the city and Crescent Street.

The city has also been trying to bolster interest in the downtown core, which has been quiet since the virus first struck Quebec four months ago. Earlier this week, Plante announced a boost of $400,000 to draw people to the heart of the city.

Crescent Street will be pedestrian-only between de Maisonneuve Boulevard and Ste-Catherine Street from Friday until Sept. 30.