In a press conference on September 30, Premier François Legault outlined new red zone rules that will come into effect in Montreal, Chaudière-Appalaches and the Capitale-Nationale at 12:00 a.m. Thursday.

These rules will remain in effect for 28 days, ending just before Halloween.

They include restrictions on public and private gatherings, travel and potential protests, as well as the repercussions for breaking the new laws.

The premier and his deputy, Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault, shared their plans for police crackdowns on illegal gatherings and the fines that rule-breakers might incur.

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What are the new rules?

According to Legault, as of 12:00 a.m. October 1:

  • all public gatherings are forbidden, except among residents of the same address; 

  • all private gatherings are forbidden and red zone residents aren't allowed to have guests (with a few notable exceptions);

  • masks are mandatory at protests;

  • and red zone residents cannot visit restaurants in a region of a different alert level.

This means that as of midnight, you will no longer be allowed to invite people into your home that do not live at the same address — unless you live alone, in which case you can designate only one visitor. 

All public gatherings — including gatherings in parks — will no longer be allowed. The exception again applies to gatherings of people that reside at the same address.

As for travel, Guilbault later clarified that red zone rules effectively "follow" residents to other regions. So someone from Montreal couldn't go to a restaurant or bar in a yellow, orange or green zone.

How will the police enforce these rules?

Legault said police will always try to disperse crowds or gatherings before giving a ticket, but will issue tickets if people don't cooperate.

The province has made it easier for them to give out tickets quickly.

If the police suspect a private gathering, they can knock on your door at any time. If you resist, they can contact a judge remotely to get a warrant in order to enter your home.

In other regions, business owners will not be checking customers' place of residence, but Legault said red zone residents found going to a restaurant in another zone will be fined. 

According to Guilbault, that fine could be between $1,000 and $6,000. 

In a social media post, the premier further explained that there will be "awareness-raising activities on Quebec roads for motorists who move from one territory to another."

Party-goers, as well as protesters who refuse masks, could be fined $1,000 when the rules come into effect. 

What did officials have to say?

"We need to send a very clear message. We can't ask something to all Quebecers and have a minority spreading the virus," Legault said.

"If you're inviting guests for a party, you're breaking the law."

He also suggested police will be working hard to enforce the rules. His "thanks of the day" went to police officers, who he said will not have an easy few weeks.

National Public Health Director Horacio Arruda said the government could adjust the restrictions as the COVID-19 situation changes in Quebec.

"It's too early to see the impact [of 28-day restrictions]," said Arruda.

"[Then] we will look at what could be repeated or not repeated, depending on what will be the observation."

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