We Answered All Your Questions About Legault's Crackdown On Red-Zone Rule Breakers

In case you're confused about fines, travel and places of worship.
We Answered All Your Questions About Legault's Crackdown On Red-Zone Rule Breakers

Premier François Legault told Quebecers at a press conference Wednesday that police forces would begin cracking down on people who violate COVID-19 public health rules.

"The warning period is over," said Minister of Health Christian Dubé at the conference, echoing the premier's statements.

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Quebec even issued a very official warning through its provincial alert system to remind residents of the risks of breaking rules.

With COVID-19 information changing on the fly and no clear breakdown of fines or penalties, you might be confused about what you can and can't do in red zones.

We answered all your questions and DMs about Legault's crackdown on breaking Quebec's COVID-19 red-zone rules

Can I take a walk or go to the park with one other person?

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You can take a walk or go to the park with someone who lives in your household.

You can also take a walk or go to the park with someone who does not live in the same household but, according to the Government of Quebec, it is not recommended.

That said, as long as you keep your masks on and stay two metres apart, you're complying with Quebec's red-zone rules.

Are we allowed to travel to another province?

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The Quebec government is asking people to avoid all non-essential travel at this time, including to other parts of Canada.

If you do decide to travel to another province, you are not required to self-isolate when you return to Quebec. But, again, it's not recommended.

Other provinces may have specific rules for travellers arriving from Quebec, which you would find on their provincial government's COVID-19 information page.

If you travel to another part of Quebec, which is also not recommended, you are expected to maintain the rules of your home zone. In other words, if you travel from a red zone to an orange zone and dine in a restaurant, you could face fines for breaking red-zone rules.

Can police break into a person's home without warning?

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No. However, if police have reason to believe you are breaking rules for private gatherings at home, they have direct access to a judge who can issue a warrant remotely. This warrant would grant them access to your household rather quickly.

In November, a spokesperson for the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions told MTL Blog that "if police are faced with a situation that 'raises questions,' [...] prosecutors are available to advise them 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

For information on your rights if police get a "telewarrant" to search your home, consult this MTL Blog interview with a lawyer from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

If I go on a road trip to an orange zone, can police send me back home?

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It's not recommended to travel outside of Quebec at this time.

Interregional travel within the province is also not recommended, save for essential purposes like work, shared custody or freight transportation.

While there's a clear difference between the province's recommended rules versus mandatory ones, Quebec has set up travel checkpoints multiple times throughout the pandemic. However, police told MTL Blog the goal of the "awareness points" is to educate drivers, rather than to hand out tickets.

Can one person still visit people who live alone?

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Yes. In fact, Legault has encouraged people to visit a friend or family member living alone in a Quebec red zone. This still applies during the holiday season.

However, he said that visits should be made one at a time to avoid breaking red-zone rules on private gatherings.

Just make sure you keep visits one-on-one. At a press conference on December 11, a reporter told Legault that someone in La Baie, Saguenay, was fined over $1,500 for visiting a couple.

What are the fine amounts?

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Fines for breaking Quebec's red-zone public health rules — including not wearing a mask and engaging in private or public gatherings — can cost you up to $6,000.

The Quebec government has not outlined which fines apply to which actions.

Can people who live in the same house go to Quebec City for Christmas?

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It's currently not recommended to travel within the province, even with those who live in your household.

If you are going from a red zone to a chalet or cottage you own in a different zone, Legault has stated that he expects you to bring your own food and supplies, so as to avoid stores and restaurants in other regions.

Can we visit churches, synagogues, mosques and temples?

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Yes. Places of worship are currently open in Quebec red zones, but each location has to comply with limited entry (up to 25 people at a time) and enforce mandatory masks as well as two-metre social distancing. They are also encouraged to set up handwashing stations.

No food or alcohol can be served.

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