Truckers driving at night annoyed by Quebec's ban on tobacco products during curfew
A man jogs along a street prior to a curfew in Montreal, Saturday, January 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. The Quebec government has imposed a curfew to help stop the spread of COVID-19 starting at 8 p.m until 5 a.m. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
MONTREAL -- Smokers who work during curfew hours have no choice but to stock up if they don't want to run out.
Although convenience stores at gas stations are open, they are not allowed to sell tobacco products between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
By instituting the curfew on Jan. 9, the Legault government allowed convenience stores and gas stations to remain open and sell gasoline, food and automotive products, but banned the sale of tobacco and alcoholic beverages.
"Promoting cigarettes is quite difficult, but it is certain that if someone is a smoker, why deny him that when he is craving?" asked Gaetan Legare, general manager of the Association Nationale des Camionneurs Artisans Inc. (ANCAI).
AVOIDING POTENTIAL ROAD RAGE
"What sort of reaction is the truck driver going to have in front of the convenience store employee? It is always these situations that worry me," said Legare. "We just have to look at what happens on the roads with the incidents of road rage."
His colleague Marc Cadieux, president and CEO of trucking groug the Association du camionnage du Quebec (ACQ), agrees, and is just as uncomfortable faced with the idea of wanting to defend smoking, a practice which in itself has always been a public health problem, in Quebec as elsewhere.
"Of course that can lead to some frustrations given that the business is open and that, without promoting smoking, someone who smokes needs this product to continue their rhythm of life," he said.
"It can have a frustrating side because often people don't get to know the whole list of non-essentials and sometimes you are faced with a fait accompli."
ELIMINATE THE RISK
The Ministry of Economy and Innovation, which is responsible for determining what is permitted or not in commercial matters during the pandemic, sent an email saying that "the restrictions put in place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. aim to minimize person-to-person contact, in particular by eliminating the risk of people breaking the curfew to purchase tobacco or alcoholic beverages."
-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.