Quebec unveils how partial lockdown rules will be enforced in COVID-19 red zones

As of midnight Wednesday, Montreal, Quebec City and certain parts of the Chaudière-Appalaches region of Quebec will become novel coronavirus red zones.

Under the red zone designation, private gatherings are prohibited and bars, taverns, restaurant dining rooms, cinemas, theatres, museums and libraries are being forced to close for a 28-day period.

Those are just some of the restrictions announced on Monday as Quebec seeks to curb community transmission of the virus and break the second wave.

Details of how the new measures will be enforced, however, were only announced on Wednesday.

“Starting at midnight today, we cannot receive people inside our homes in red zones,” said Quebec Premier François Legault.

“If you’re inviting guests for a party, you’re breaking the law. When this happens, police officers can give fines of $1,000.”

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In the event that people refuse to cooperate with authorities, for example by refusing to answer the door, officers can remotely ask a judge for a warrant to intervene.

Legault said police will intervene when only when they have reason to believe public health guidelines aren’t being observed.

“Police aren’t going to start knocking at every door. It’s not going to be a witch hunt,” he said.

Outdoor gatherings are also prohibited in red zones and police will be allowed to intervene, first by asking the groups to disperse and then by issuing tickets.

While protests will be allowed to go ahead, masks will be mandatory. Those not complying can be ticketed and fined $1,000, Legault said.

The premier also specified that those living in red zones can’t go to an orange zone to do activities that are prohibited in their region.

He cited going to an orange zone to eat at a restaurant as an example.

Legault defended the restrictions and their necessary enforcement.

“We cannot accept that a majority of people pay for the negligence of the minority,” he said. “Cases are rising and the situation is worrisome.”

Legault also specified that the list of activities that are off-limits is not a moral judgment of those activities or establishments and warned the list could get longer in the coming weeks depending on how the situation evolves.

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