Gatineau police say they handed out nearly two dozen tickets to people breaking a provincewide curfew in Quebec on its first night.
In a tweet, police said they investigated 441 reports, issued 21 tickets for disrespecting the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and gave 19 warnings.
Bilan de nos opérations #Covid du samedi 9 janvier 20 h au dimanche 10 janvier 5 h. #Gatineau
- 441 vérifications
- 21 constats pour non-respect du couvre-feu
- 4 constats pour rassemblement interdit
- 19 avertissements
- 1 constat au règlement municipal pour paix et bon ordre
Four tickets were handed out for prohibited gatherings and one was issued for disturbing the peace, police said.
There were some anti-curfew demonstrations held across Quebec on Saturday night, including in Gatineau.
Fines for disobeying the provincewide curfew can range from $1000 to $6000.
One of the people ticketed was Samuel Kardash, who tells CTV News Ottawa he went out specifically looking for a ticket.
"I decided to go out and violate the curfew and receive a fine from the Gatineau police so we could see whether this fine will stand up in court," he said.
Kardash lives in Ottawa, but said he made a point of going to Gatineau to protest the rules in Quebec.
"Right now we’re going to curfews. What will be the next step?" he asked.
The four-week curfew requires that residents across Quebec remain at home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they have a valid reason to be out, such as travelling to essential workplaces. The goal is to limit transmission of COVID-19, which has been surging in the province. On Saturday, Quebec health officials reported their highest single-day total of new cases since the pandemic began.
The Quebec government issued an Emergency Alert at 6:30 p.m. Saturday to remind residents that the curfew is in force.
Under the lockdown rules, grocery stores and depanneurs must close at 7:30 p.m. every day to allow shoppers time to get home. Pharmacies and gas stations will be permitted to remain open between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Lisa Barrett, speaking on CTV News Channel, said that the curfew could be a helpful measure, but people must be vigilant at all hours of the day.
"Curfew may be helpful, but what you do the other 18 hours of the day can’t be forgotten," she said. "And the provinces are going to have to provide support for people who can’t do the things they need to do."
The curfew also applies to Ontario residents visiting Quebec. Ontarians are urged to remain in Ontario between 8 p.m. and 5 p.m. unless travel to Quebec is essential.