Bars and restaurants across western Quebec could be getting a visit from police this weekend to enforce public health measures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The blitz is focused on more than 1,000 establishments in yellow zones across the province, regions "on alert" after experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 cases — and that includes the Outaouais.
"The goal is to remain green, or for those [zones] that are yellow, to go back to green," said Quebec deputy premier Geneviève Guilbault, the province's public security minister and the minister responsible for the National Capital Region.
Guilbault announced details Friday of Operation OSCAR, which will see police making sure bars and restaurants are in compliance with both the Public Health Act and the Liquor License Act.
If officers spot activities that pose a risk, they will alert public health officials and report the bar or restaurant to the province's alcohol, gaming, and lottery commission, the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux.
Officers may also issue fines, from $400 up to $6,000 for repeat offenders, according to Guilbault.
Reluctance to follow rules
Gatineau police said Friday afternoon that they would be stepping up enforcement with extra officers as of early this evening.
The weekend enforcement blitz is important given there are "people who are still reluctant to respect the rules," Guilbault said.
"If people are still wondering if they have to respect the rules, they will find the police on their way," said Guilbault.
"I am asking those who are not respecting the rules to do so, because we have to avoid this second wave in order to keep on functioning as a society."
Guilbault did not announce new measures to crack down on parties in people's homes, but she did reiterate that gatherings of more than 10 people are already "forbidden" in Quebec, and that police could intervene.