Police checkpoints in place for Thanksgiving weekend as more Quebec regions enter COVID-19 red zone

Trois-Rivieres and several other Quebec regions are about to enter the red zone on the province's regional COVID-19 alert map and checkpoints will be erected for the long weekend.

Health Minister Christian Dube made the announcements alongside public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda at a news conference on Thursday. 

New areas in the red zone are: Becancourt, Nicolet-Yamaska and Drummond, as well as Trois-Rivieres and Portneuf. Most red zone measures will be in force as of Saturday, but those concerning schools will be applied a few days later. 

“We will ask that the measures for the schools be in effect as of Wednesday evening at midnight," Dube said. 

Ahead of Thanksgiving weekend, Dube also announced that checkpoints will be erected in certain areas across the province at the request of regional health -- to remind people of government recommendations regarding travel between regions. 

“So once again these checkpoints will be in place as early as tomorrow afternoon,” Dube said. “What we want is to avoid that the population participate in non-essential travel.”

Those who do choose to travel are being reminded that if they live in a red zone, red-zone rules apply to whatever region they visit. 

"We're not going to stop people from travelling," Dube said. "But we have to make sure these people are not going to a restaurant if they're not allowed at a restaurant in their own zone." 

"Let's not do in other zones what we can't do in our zones," he added. 

If cases continue to rise in the province and health officials are forced to tighten restrictions in red zones, there may come a time when they will have to close schools and businesses -- but Dube and Arruda said the province hasn't reached that point yet. 

When asked about his performance as the province's public health director, Arruda said he is confident with the work he's done. 

“I’m comfortable with the decisions I have made,” he said. “In the beginning it was easy… Now we’re making a decision, we penalize one, we penalize the other, there are conspiracy theories, I get death threats." 

“If they want to kick me out, they can kick me out but I consider I am doing my work as best as I can," he added. 

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