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COVID-19: City in Quebec deploys firefighters, first responders to staff security checkpoints
Published Thursday, April 2, 2020 10:03AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, April 2, 2020 10:13AM EDT
LA TUQUE, QUE. -- Municipal authorities in La Tuque, in Quebec's Mauricie region, have sent firefighters and first responders to staff checkpoints set up to protect the regional population from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, the Quebec government added the agglomeration of La Tuque to its list of regions protected by roadside checkpoints.
The City of La Tuque says that Quebec provincial police, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), are unable to maintain the requested checkpoints on Highway 155 to the north and south, as well as on Highway 1502, which connects Mont-Laurier to the Parent sector of the La Tuque region.
The City said Quebec's Ministry of Public Security signed off on the plan before La Tuque announced its decision on Wednesday evening.
La Tuque officials said that the Sûreté du Québec plans to provide four hours of controls at the checkpoints per 24-hour period. The rest of the time, SQ patrollers will make random checks.
That decision was deemed unacceptable by the City of La Tuque, which decided to mobilize its team of firefighters and first responders.
The mayor of La Tuque, Pierre-David Tremblay, said it is not normal to have to send firefighters on the roads to do the control work and that he intends to have discussions on this subject with the Minister of Public Security on Thursday.
People who do not live in La Tuque can no longer enter the territory of the municipality, unless they are employed in essential services. The people of La Tuque can no longer leave the city limits, except for a trip deemed essential.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020.