Quebec small-town mayors call for police checkpoints to limit travel during spring break
MONTREAL -- Mayors from several Quebec municipalities are raising a red flag, concerned that more needs to be done to limit travel between regions during the spring break.
A number of them are calling for police checkpoints, including the mayor of Morin Heights in the Laurentians, who also called for road blocks to be installed during the Christmas break.
"I think that's absolutely necessary,” said Tim Watchorn.
“We're seeing every weekend piles of people coming up here to take advantage of the outdoors. So far, everything's been going great, but our population is afraid that over spring break it's going to get out of hand."
The concern is that spring break travelling could result in a third wave of infections in the province. While overall case numbers have been dropping in recent weeks, the mayors point out that in some municipalities, cases are down to zero.
But as more and more people visit from the province’s COVID-19 red zones, including Montreal, there’s an increased risk of the virus spreading in smaller communities.
In the Eastern Townships, Bromont’s mayor is equally concerned about the flow of tourists, saying cars were lined up on the highway last week, and parking lots were full.
“I think the Quebec government needs to send a clear signal,” he said. Noting it’s one that is urgently needed especially knowing there’s a possibility that some regions will see bars and restaurants reopen later this month.
“It's going to make it even worse and we'll go back to the same problems we had in November," said Watchorn.
Last week, the government rejected the idea of police checkpoints between regions saying it didn't have enough officers to manage them with curfews and quarantines still in place.
But yesterday, Quebec’s public security minister said all options are being discussed, and nothing is off the table including roadblocks limiting travel between regions and the neighbouring provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick.
The government is expected to outline its plan for controlling the virus during the spring break in the coming days.