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Montreal Police Are Cracking Down On Social Distancing Rulebreakers With $1,000 Fines

There will be increased monitoring and potential prosecution.
Staff Writer
Montreal Police Are Cracking Down On People Who Break Social Distancing Rules
  • At a press conference Sunday, Mayor Plante and Chief Sylvain Caron announced that Montreal police will begin cracking down on individuals who don't respect social distancing rules.
  • Police are prepared to issue fines as high as $1,000 to people who refuse to obey regulations.

The SPVM now has additional powers to police social distancing and public gathering regulations. Montreal police chief Sylvain Caron, accompanied by Mayor Valérie Plante and Director of Public Health Mylène Drouin, announced that police officers will be able to write up "offence reports" in cases where individuals violate public gathering rules. These reports will be filed and could potentially be used to prosecute offenders at a later date. 

"Its teams [the SPVM] have ensured a presence on the ground and that they will increase their monitoring to enforce public health instructions," said Mayor Plante on social media

"If there is no cooperation, offence reports will be given," Caron said at a Sunday press conference. 

Reports will be issued to people who violate public gathering regulations or who don't leave an area when asked.

The SPVM will also issue fines or press charges on those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 that refuse to comply with the established regulations. 

Montrealers have also been asked to be vigilant and report any "unusual" public gatherings.

Mayor Plante, however, underlined that citizens shouldn't take matters into their own hands, advising that they contact authorities if they spot anything. 

Since close to half the cases of COVID-19 in Quebec are in Montreal, the SPVM hopes that these new measures will prevent further spread of the virus.

Along with this announcement, Montreal also extended its city-wide state of emergency by five more days.

As of March 30, there are 1,612 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montreal. 

The boroughs of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Ville-Marie, and LaSalle, as well as the on-island suburb of Côte-St-Luc, each have over 50 cases.

On March 22, the SPVM announced that it was prepared to issue fines of up to $1,000 for those who violate social distancing rules, although current measures now allow for higher amounts. 

READ ALSO: 6 Montreal Areas Are Most Affected By COVID-19, With Over 50 Cases Each

An SPVM spokesperson told MTL Blog that "the SPVM relies on the good faith of Montrealers to follow all government directives, including those concerning social distancing."

Dr. Drouin underlined that these measures don't mean that we're facing a police-state in Montreal.

Life will continue as normal, it's just that people will need to follow the rules more carefully. 

"We're going to monitor these measures every day with the SPVM to see if people are complying with the regulations," she said. 

"Depending on the situation, we're going to see if we'll put more measures. At this time, we're not closing the bridges, we're not closing the neighbourhoods — we're putting in place these first strategies and we will monitor the situation as it evolves." 

Stay tuned for more updates on COVID-19 in Montreal. 

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