Stop throwing large private parties, or we'll step in: Quebec premier

Quebec’s premier says his government is looking at all possible options to stop people from throwing large, private gatherings, one of the leading causes of COVID-19 transmission in Quebec.

For the moment, Francois Legault is counting on the Quebec population to cooperate, because preventing private gatherings is difficult due to trouble enforcing that prevention.

But the government is exploring all legal avenues.

"We need a mandate. The police need a mandate in each house in order to force the opening of the door. How do we do that practically?" the premier said at a briefing on Wednesday.

As it stands, if police officers are not responding to an emergency, they’re only permitted to enter a home if invited in by the homeowner or if they've obtained a warrant.

If the government decides to fast-track the warrant process, it will face numerous time-consuming legal steps and a lot of red-tape.

Questions are also being raised about how police officers would determine if people are contravening public health-guidelines if once they enter a dwelling, everyone appears to be distancing appropriately.

Members of the opposition criticized Legault for lack of action, though he took a sombre, even alarming, tone with the public Tuesday.

The government added four new regions to the yellow zone, but did not announce any new additional public health measures to help contain the virus's spread.

"He's putting out the signal that he's anxious and doesn't want anything to happen but what's next? New measures, new penalties?" said Pascal Berube, the leader of the Parti-Quebecois.

The Liberal party is calling on the government to release public health department projections based on scientific models about the impact the virus might have on the population this fall.

The data, however, Legault said, is not yet available.

"What’s happening (in the last) month is that we see a very large increase in the number of new cases but about no increase in hospitalizations and deaths. So is this only because we have young people infected, what is the real reason, what is the trend that is forecast for the next months? I’m asking that also to public health," he said.

Legault said he hopes to have the information in hand as soon as possible.

The last series of projections were presented to Quebecers on June 29.

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