Montreal extends state of emergency by five days; police get expanded powers
MONTREAL -- Montreal police are receiving expanded powers to ensure residents are complying with physical distancing measures.
At a press conference on Sunday, Montreal police chief Sylvain Caron said officers will write up offence reports that could be used to prosecute people who refuse to comply with regulations put forth by the province, such as people refusing to leave large gatherings after being warned.
“If there's no cooperation, there will be offence reports that will be drafted,” he said.
Caron also mentioned situations where someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or whose case is being investigated and refuses to comply with isolation measures could face fines or charges.
Caron encouraged Montrealers to report “unusual” situations and gatherings.
Police have already warned they will issue fines of up to $1,000 to people refusing to cooperate with the physical distancing measures announced as part of the effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. A spokesperson for the SPVM told CTV News that fines could now range between $1,000 and $6,000, though the amount will ultimately be up to a judge to decide.
Caron said Montreal police are upping their patrols throughout Montreal, with officers being pulled from other duties to enforce both isolation measures and respond to domestic calls.
Mayor Valerie Plante encouraged residents to be vigilant and to contact authorities if needed.
“We don't want citizens to become patrollers but if you see a situation that goes against the regulations put forth, you can communicate it,” she said.
1,361 CASES IN MONTREAL
Director of public health Mylene Drouin gave an update on the number of cases in Montreal. As of 9 p.m. on Saturday, 1,361 cases have been confirmed on the Island of Montreal, a rise of 146 cases over the previous 24 hours. Of those, 83 people have been hospitalized, with 13 in intensive care. The death toll in Montreal remains at six.
Drouin said 82 healthcare workers had been diagnosed with COVID-19 while Caron said six SPVM officers have been confirmed to have the virus.
Drouin said the number of new cases over the past three or four days has shown stability and commended Montrealers for following phyiscal distancing guidelines. She warned that 42 per cent of the city's cases involve people over the age of 50, who are at higher risk of developing complications but repeated a warning to younger Montrealers to continue respecting the measures, saying even with mild or no symptoms, they can still be vectors of transmission.
SIX NEIGHBOURHOODS WITH OVER 50 CASES
The announcement of the new measures came the same day Montreal city council voted to extend the city's state of emergency, which was first declared on Friday. While the original declaration was for 48 hours, Plante said city council voted to extend it for five days.
Drouin said the virus has spread to most areas of the city, though six areas have been particularly affected. Cote-St-Luc, Cote-des-Neiges-NDG, Rosemont-La-Petit-Patrie, Lasalle, Ville-Marie and Plateau-Mont-Royal have all been home to more than 50 confirmed cases, each. She noted that Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montreal-North, Pointe-Aux-Trembles and Villeray have also seen large increases in the number of cases over recent days.
Plante said there is currently no consideration of quarantining individual boroughs or municipalities or of closing the city's bridges but didn't rule out further measures as the situation develops.
PLANTE COMMENDS EFFORTS WITH HOMELESS
The mayor also thanked workers who are involved with Montreal's homeless community. She pointed to the establishment of two outdoor shelters on Friday and Saturday and said there are plans for three more similar sites.