Over the past week, Montreal police were swarmed with over 500 phone calls from citizens claiming COVID-19 protocols weren’t being followed.
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) received 545 calls from neighbours and locals worried about Montrealers breaking public health guidelines during the week of January 18 to 24.
The SPVM says police officers issued 773 infractions, 396 of which were related to curfew violators.
Despite a steady decrease in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths throughout the province, the number of infractions issued have not seemed to follow the trend. Though fewer calls were made in the last week, the number of infractions was up by almost 200, and the number of fines issued to curfew non-compliers has gone up by 43.
The high fines and increased police surveillance haven’t seemed to deter some from gathering. In response to a call, Mirabel Police and the Sûreté du Québec broke up a gathering of 36 people in the borough of Saint-Benoît.
Applying the hefty government-mandated fine, each partygoer was issued an infraction and a fine of $1,546, for a total cost of $55,656 for the whole group.
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From now until February 8, anyone outside of their home from 8 pm to 5 am without a valid reason can be subject to infractions. It’s still fineable in the province to gather indoors or outdoors with people outside your household (at any time), and businesses must function at a specific capacity relative to its size.
Police throughout the province have been told to “use their judgement to assess” situations when it comes to rule-breakers and curfew defiers, with fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.
Données #COVID19 | Du 18 au 24 janvier, le #SPVM a reçu 545 appels en lien avec l’application du décret de la Santé publique. Les policiers ont remis 773 constats ou RIG et, de ce nombre, 396 ont été émis pour le non-respect du couvre-feu. pic.twitter.com/oXg7z3mMBF
— Police Montréal (@SPVM) January 25, 2021
Exceptions to curfew non-compliance are being made for people who have a note from their employers that prove they are supplying an essential service and for Quebecers buying medication outside of curfew hours (though a receipt is needed as proof).
Pet owners are permitted to walk their pets past 8 pm within a 1-kilometre radius from their home.
Grocery stores and depanneurs are required to close at 7:30 pm nightly to give people enough time to get home.
Montreal police did not comment on fine amounts of the 773 offences.