- Police on the South Shore fined six people for engaging in a gathering at a home in Saint-Constant, violating social distancing rules.
- Neighbours first alerted the police to the incident.
A house party in Saint-Constant was broken up by local police in the early hours of the morning. Six people, including four between the ages of 18 and 22 and two minors,* were given tickets. Roussillon Intermunicipal Police were alerted to the party by neighbours who were concerned about social distancing rules, a police spokesperson told MTL Blog.
Police were called to the private residence at around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. Officers found the individuals engaging in a gathering and handed out the fines.
Since the beginning of the public health emergency, Quebec police authorities have been mandated to crack down on people who violate public health directives.
Authorities can hand out fines of between $1,000 and $6,000. Across the province, local and provincial police have increased patrols and established checkpoints to enforce social distancing and limit non-essential travel.
On March 26, the Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) handed out what appears to have been the first such fine in the province: $1,000 to an individual who hosted a house party.
Thursday morning's incident in Saint-Constant saw the adults receive a $1,000 fine ($1,500 with fees) while the minors each received a $500 fine ($570 with fees).
This marks one of the first instances where Roussillon Municipal Police had to crack down on social distancing violators, the spokesperson explained.
Almost all public gatherings in Quebec have been banned since the beginning of the ongoing health crisis.
There are exceptions, however, for essential workers who must gather in the workplace, for public transit, and for service providers.
A house party, though, doesn't fall under these exemptions.
Only gatherings of occupants of the same household are still allowed.
Le #SPVM appelle la population à poursuivre sa collaboration et son respect des directives gouvernementales de dist… https://t.co/3ECWInXxYL— Police Montréal (@Police Montréal) 1585437503.0
In March, 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."
#COVID19 | Certaines situations devraient être signalées aux policiers. Pour ce faire, contactez votre poste de po… https://t.co/k06Z97bVpS— Sûreté du Québec (@Sûreté du Québec) 1586360764.0
Premier François Legault has suggested that social distancing regulations will persist well into the future.
"You have to get used to the two-metre rule in Quebec. That will take months," he said on April 8.
Stay tuned for more news.
*This article has been updated.