January 7, 2021
If Laura goes to sleep in a homeless shelter, she could wake up convulsing and die.
This isn’t hyperbole. It’s alcohol withdrawal, which can happen to your body when you’ve had a substance dependency for long enough.
So Laura (not her real name) sleeps at a camp in the heart of Montreal’s Milton-Parc district, where she can manage her alcohol intake. But as of Saturday, it will be illegal for her to be outside after 8 p.m. Under the terms of a province-wide curfew imposed by the Coalition Avenir Québec government, she’ll be subject to a fine of between $1,000 and $6,000 if she is caught outside.
There’s another reason she’s scared to go inside. After an outbreak in Montreal’s shelter system, over 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19. About half of them are Indigenous and many among them already have severe respiratory problems.