January 7, 2021 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic
Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Québec’s deputy premier and minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, announced that people found outside their homes, inside a vehicle or not, will have to demonstrate essential reasons to explain why they are not respecting the curfew.
The government will not issue official passes, like in France, to justify being outside between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. as of Saturday, and until February 8. It is up to every individual to provide proof that they work in essential services, such as carrying a letter from their employer or presenting an identity card that proves their role in providing essential services.
Ms. Guilbault explained that for the vast majority of the population, the curfew will not have much impact on their lives, since they are already respecting Public Health guidelines. “For those who are not, it’s going to be much harder to get together. The message is clear: stay home,” she said.
Law enforcement agents will be allowed to issue tickets on the spot, ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, in addition to a $542 fee.
Exceptions, judgment and discernment
The deputy minister explained that there will “obviously be exceptions in enforcing the curfew,” such as going to the pharmacy to pick up medication, lending assistance to someone in need or going to be with someone who is dying.
“There are different emergency situations, but individuals will have to have a good reason,” she said.
Police officers will use their judgement and discernment to evaluate each case. Ms. Guilbault cited the example of a person on their way to look after the children of a friend who needs to go to hospital.
Another exception applies to dog owners who will be allowed to walk their pets within a one-kilometre perimeter of their homes. People will also be allowed to be outdoors, on their property, during the curfew, but only with those who are in their family bubble.
The minister of Public Security reiterated that regardless of the hour and the circumstances, anyone living in a violent context where their safety or the safety of their children is compromised can leave their home at any time, despite the curfew.
Greater tolerance for the homeless
Ms. Guilbault assured Quebecers that police officers will show greater tolerance for the homeless and will try to find them lodging rather than issuing them fines.