A Quebec couple was hit with $3,000 in fines after the woman put a leash on her partner and took him for a walk on the weekend to get around a COVID-19 curfew.
On Saturday, Quebec residents were placed on an official curfew for 28 days to curb the rise of COVID-19 cases in the province. As of Monday evening, Quebec has reported 230,690 cases and 8,7378 deaths, the worst-hit province in Canada. (There have been 668,181 positive cases nationwide.)
But dog owners are exempt, and can walk their dogs after 8 p.m. as long as they stay within a kilometre of their home.
Leash in hand, the woman, 24, set out for a walk with her partner, 40, on the other end attached to a collar around his neck around 9 p.m. on Saturday night in Sherbrooke, a city about 150 kilometres east of Montreal, and was stopped by police in the downtown area.
Martin Carrier, spokesperson for Sherbrooke police, said the officers were shocked when they saw the scene.
Carrier said the couple told the officers they were following Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s rules and didn’t feel that the curfew made sense.
“She said she was walking her dog because it was part of the exceptions that the government mentioned for leaving the house during curfew,” said Carrier.
The man and woman were each given a $1,500 ticket for violating curfew laws and failing to cooperate with police.
“We see our colleagues in the health care system and they’re burning out. Hospitals are full to capacity, people are sick, a lot are dying,” said Carrier. “And then we see people like this that are making light of the situation. They don’t see people dying around them and are just trying to find a loophole in the system.”
Legault announced the curfew after seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases to about 3,000 new cases a day. It is the first time in Canada a curfew has been imposed to try and stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was initially considering following Quebec’s lead but government sources told CityNews on Monday a curfew was “not being considered at this time.”
Sherbrooke police said 35 tickets were issued over the first weekend under curfew.
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