The mayor of Saint-Anicet, Gino Moretti, has added a task to his list of duties as an elected official. With thread, a needle and a lot of support for his wife, he has started to make masks.
“It’s not a hidden talent, I am encouraging of it, especially with my wife,” he says. “She likes to quilt while I prefer reading; we said, ‘why don’t we make masks?’ We got a donation from the local Optimist Club and we have made almost 500 to date, plus caps for nurses and doctors.”
The masks made by Carole Quenneville and Gino Moretti will be distributed to students and staff at the École des Jeunes-Riverains elementary school in Saint-Anicet. A voluntary return to class will take place on May 11. However, Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, has indicated that wearing a mask is not mandatory.
“As a veteran, I’ve seen what a virus or an epidemic can do,” says Moretti. “The mask adds an element of safety. If a child is properly supervised, he’ll understand the importance of wearing a mask. Children of all ages have a greater capacity for understanding than one might think.”
Gino Moretti likes to say that his municipality is the paradise of the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent. The pearl of the province. A dream place to live, work, vacation or retire.
Saint-Anicet is known for welcoming many residents in the summer who come from out of town. They occupy cottages, often on the shores of Lac Saint-François. While travel between regions is still not recommended by the provincial public health authority, the mayor posted a message on the municipality’s Facebook page asking seasonal residents to take extra precautions.
“Something that is very important is the protection of mental health, and many have found a corner of paradise in Saint-Anicet,” he says. “No restrictions have been placed on coming out to the cottage. But Dr. Arruda has said that if we go too fast, we may have to take two steps back. That being said, I am sure the residents of Saint-Anicet will be careful.”
The municipality is already busy preparing for the post-crisis period. A report is being prepared to allow for the municipality to take stock of positive actions that were taken. The report will also focus on ways to maintain essential services and communication channels in the event the situation is repeated.