75 people fined $135,000 at illegal gathering in Quebec's Lanaudière region

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Seventy-five people are facing fines after an illegal gathering that violated COVID-19 rules in Quebec's Lanaudière region, provincial police said Sunday.

A police spokeswoman says it was firefighters who called the authorities at about midnight Friday night to report people gathering at a house in Sainte-Béatrix, about 100 kilometres north of Montreal.

Local and provincial police arrived to find people fleeing on foot or barricading theselves in the house, according to spokeswoman Audrey-Ann Bilodeau. Two other police forces were called to help.

Provincial police eventually obtained a warrant to enter, and found 75 people, almost all from the Greater Montreal region.

Police issued more than $135,000 worth of tickets, mostly for illegal gatherings. Currently, group gatherings in private homes are not allowed in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Authorities also gave about 10 tickets for violating the 9:30 p.m. curfew, and about 20 for breaking municipal bylaws such as obstructing the work of police officers.

The news came as Quebec reported 716 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as it crossed the four million vaccine mark.

Officials also announced two additional deaths, both from the previous 24 hours.

Hospitalizations and intensive care numbers each declined by one to 508 and 119, respectively.

The stable case numbers came as the province added 90,196 vaccine doses in the previous 24 hours and 2,234 from earlier to its grand total of 4,323,040 vaccine shots given.

Health Minister Christian Dubé highlighted the fact that the province has now administered more than four million shots in a Twitter message thanking health workers and Quebecers.

Currently, the government says 48.2 per cent of the province's population has received at least one dose.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2021

The Canadian Press

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