Quebecers will need to provide evidence of why they're outside after curfew

A note from an employer, a receipt from the drug store, a hospital card: the province says the onus is on Quebecers who leave their homes after curfew to provide a good reason to be outside.

For example, people who have to work after 8 p.m., or have to respond to a personal emergency, should be able to provide proof of what they're doing.

Quebec’s Deputy Premier and Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters the province is putting its trust in the judgement of police officers to enforce its new curfew measures, which come into force on Saturday, Jan. 9.

Under the new rules, Quebecers are ordered to stay in their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. for a period of at least four weeks

“You can be intercepted at any time by a policeman or woman, and you will have to explain what you’re doing,” said Guilbault.

Fines for violating the rules can range between $1000 and $6000.

“Police are used to showing judgment and discernment,” said Guilbault.

Guilbault said she’ll be meeting with public security on Friday to work out the details on how police will enforce the new rules.

She said it’s possible police presence will be increased during the curfew.

UNSAFE HOMES

Guilbault stressed that anyone living in an unsafe home can leave it if necessary, even during the curfew period.

“In no case do we want this curfew to prevent you from leaving a living environment that is harmful to you or your children,” said the deputy premier.

HOMELESS PEOPLE

What if someone doesn’t have a home to go to after 8 p.m.?

Guilbeault addressed several questions over how the province will apply the new rules to homeless people.

“We are going to work first and foremost … to find a shelter for those people,” she said. “There are places that are available right now.”

Again, Guilbeault said the province is putting its trust in police officers who are used to working with homeless communities.

“We want to help the homeless and not inundate them with tickets.”

In a recent news release, the Montreal police force said it will take a 'preventative and adapted approach' for people in 'vulnerable situations'.

Meanwhile, Montreal's Indigenous homeless population is grappling with an outbreak of the coronavirus.

About 80 per cent of the people tested received a positive result, according to a joint statement released Thursday by organizations working with homeless populations. 

-- With files from the Canadian Press.

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