The 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. curfew is in effect until at least February 8th as Quebec tries to contain infections with high levels of COVID-19.

Canada’s first nationwide COVID-19 curfew goes into effect Saturday evening as the Quebec provincial government tries to curb an increase in infections and hospital stays related to the novel coronavirus.

In a Facebook post on Saturday morning, Quebec Prime Minister Francois Legault said he had ordered the curfew to prevent gatherings between households in the French-speaking province.

“I consider the situation to be critical and require shock treatment,” Legault wrote.

Quebec has reported more than 223,100 COVID-19 cases and more than 8,600 deaths – most in Canada – since the pandemic began, and officials have warned that high infection rates during the ongoing second wave are pushing the health system to its limits.

The province recorded a 7-day average of more than 2,500 COVID-19 cases per day between January 1 and 7.

The curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time begins on Saturday and lasts at least until February 8, the Quebec government said earlier this week.

The police are allowed to question anyone outside during this time and fines of up to Canadian $ 6,000 (approximately $ 4,700) for breaking the curfew. Individuals need a valid reason to be outside of their homes to be tax exempt, e.g. B. going to work or receiving medical treatment.

The Quebec government says the measure is necessary to send a message to Quebecers to comply with public health guidelines.

Civil rights groups, however, criticized the curfew, saying it could disproportionately harm vulnerable groups and lead to racial profiles by the police.

“Our biggest concern with Quebec’s # curfew law is that its law enforcement officers were notoriously overzealous to overload people during COVID,” tweeted the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on Jan. 7.

Our biggest concern with Quebec’s #cewew law is that its law enforcement officers were notoriously overzealous about overloading people during the COVID. So expect race profiles + disproportionate effects on vulnerable people – whose lives don’t exactly fit into the evening quarantine at home.

– Canadian Civil Liberties Association (@cancivlib) January 7, 2021

“So expect racial profiles + disproportionate effects on vulnerable people – whose lives don’t exactly fit into the evening quarantine at home.”

Homeless attorneys in Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, have also raised concerns after Legault said they shouldn’t be outside during curfew due to the city’s shelters’ space.

“We want the homeless to go inside too. There are places for them, ”Legault told reporters this week.

Nakuset, executive director of Montreal’s Native Women’s Shelter, told CBC News that there was not enough space in the city for the homeless.

“If the Legault administration says the homeless are expected to adhere to this curfew, where are they going?” She said. “He seems to think there is enough shelter. It’s not even near [being] enough space.”

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