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Cirque du Soleil opens for giving vaccinations as Quebec eases some regional restrictions

MONTREAL (CityNews) – It’s your typical Montreal COVID-19 vaccination site, usually you’ll find costumes, acrobats, and props.

The Cirque du Soleil headquarters in the St. Michel neighbourhood is joining the Quebec’s fight against COVID-19.

“When the government asked companies who wanted to be part of this adventure around Quebec, we came together, we all raised our hands. We evaluated a couple of locations. Great, colourful, very vibrant.” said Cynthia Shanks, director of communications & sustainability with Keurig and Dr. Pepper Canada.

Five local companies, including Cirque du Soleil, are partaking in the vaccination initiative. Cirque du Soleil features a vaccination backdrop including music, Cirque du Soleil shows on a big screen and clown noses to attract people to the centre.

It’s aimed to respond to the St. Michel community’s need to accelerate vaccinations, as public health confirmed 51 per cent of the neighborhood has received at least one dose which is about 10 per cent lower than the rate of the rest of Montreal’s east end.

“It’s a population that’s harder to reach because of the cultural diversity of the territory,” said Caroline St. Denis, Vaccination Campaign Director at CIUSSS de l’Est de l’Ile de Montreal. “So we’re using multiple mechanisms of communication to let them know locations of vaccination centres.”

Quebec’s health minister Christian Dube took a tour of the vaccination site Monday, which will be open to the general public until August 31.

“The people in the health system are a little bit tired to say the least after this long year, so to see this collaboration between the private sector and the health system is fantastic,” said Dube.

“I would say, invite the younger people to come, we still haven’t achieved our percentage, the goals we have. This is the perfect place to come over the next few weeks,” he added.

In Quebec, 60.8 per cent of the population has been inoculated with at least one dose so far and 6.8 per cent have received their second shot.

Monday marked the beginning of most Quebec regions’ alert levels being changed from red to orange, while Montreal and Laval remain red for another week.

In orange zones: restaurant dining rooms and gyms can reopen, and Grade 9 to 11 high school students are back in school full time

Restrictions across Quebec eased as of May 28, including lifting of a province-wide curfew. Restaurant patios reopened and large crowds were seen gathering in old Montreal over the weekend and in other parts of Quebec.