Residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario will need to respect Quebec's new overnight curfew, but a parliamentary assistant to Premier Francois Legault suggests there are no plans to set up checkpoints on interprovincial bridges to stop non-essential trips into the province.
Starting Saturday, a curfew will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for all regions of Quebec, except the Nord-du-Quebec administrative region. Quebecers will need to stay in their homes during the curfew or risk a fine of up to $6,000.
"People from Ontario coming into Quebec will be bound by the curfew, so don't come to Quebec after 8 p.m.," said Christophe Skeete, MNA for Sainte-Rose, during an interview on CTV Morning Live.
"Other than that, the border between the two provinces should stay open, and we just ask people to maintain social distancing and keep being careful."
The Quebec government ordered police to set up checkpoints along the Ottawa-Gatineau border in the spring to stop non-essential trips across the interprovincial bridges.
On Wednesday, Premier Legault announced the overnight curfew would go into effect for four weeks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
"We were seeing an increase in cases and we didn't have a choice to act. We need to protect our hospitals, protect our elderly populations, so the next step was unfortunately a curfew," said Skeete.
CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts asked Skeete how the overnight curfew would be enforced.
"The SQ is going to be making sure that people are respecting the curfew obviously, but we are not entering a police state. The idea here is to make people realize this is a serious situation," said Skeete.
"Yes, there will be fines for people who are recalcitrant, but at the same token there is not going to be police blocking roads. This is still Quebec, this is still Canada."
The National Capital Commission says Gatineau Park will remain open during the four-week lockdown, but parking lots will close at 7 p.m. Camp Fortune and Mont. Ste. Marie will also remain open.
Ontario has ordered ski hills to close during its four-week lockdown.
Skeete says while health officials still recommend Ontarians do not visit Quebec during the lockdown, the province is trying to find a balance to encourage physical activity.
"Inter-regional travel is still not recommended but at the same token it's a trade off – where do we stop people from actually being able to have a semblance of life," said Skeete.
"Mental health is a growing issue and we're becoming more aware of it as times goes on with this COVID thing. We're betting that people need to have some kind of outdoor activity, and that's the reason why we're leaving ski hills open. At the same token, it's an economic reality for certain regions in Quebec."