Montreal police hand out 34 fines over the holidays for COVID-19 violations

Montreal police handed out 34 fines to people violating public health measures aimed at limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus during Christmastime.

The police department said in a statement issued Tuesday that it received 693 calls from Dec. 21 to 27, when holiday gatherings were prohibited in the city, which is a designated red zone.

In Quebec, a stricter lockdown also came into effect on Christmas as the second COVID-19 wave continues to gain steam. All non-essential businesses are closed until at least Jan. 11, 2021.

Montreal police officers also inspected two establishments with liquor licences, more than 7,800 stores and 31 other places during that time.

Read more: Quebec City police crack down on illegal gatherings, dole out fines to coronavirus rule-breakers

The number of tickets issued last week is only a fraction of the 353 fines the police reported issuing during the previous reporting period.

A police spokesman declined to provide a reason for the reduction in ticketing, but noted that officers had more than doubled the number of inspections carried out in businesses to 7,873, compared to 3,686 the week prior.

In Quebec City, police also cracked down on illegal gatherings last week. More than 40 people were given fines for flouting the rules.

The Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force, will release information about any illegal gatherings in the middle of the week.

Earlier this month, officials warned that police would be making the rounds to ensure public health orders are being respected.

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With files from The Canadian Press

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