Quebec to enforce coronavirus rules in bars, restaurants with sweeping police operation

Quebec is tightening controls and will enforce public health directives with a sweeping police operation over the weekend as novel coronavirus cases surge in the province.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault announced Friday that police presence will be boosted in 1,000 bars, restaurants and other establishments with alcohol permits. The police operation, dubbed OSCAR, is to ensure rules are being respected and to prevent a second wave.

“Our police officers will be very visible all over Quebec during the entire weekend,” she said, adding efforts will particularly target regions, such as Montreal, considered at higher risk.

Guilbault said fines can be given to both business owners and clients. The goal, she said, is to stop the growing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

“We have to do all we can as a society to fight COVID,” she said.

READ MORE: Quebecers must be careful in coming days as coronavirus cases rise, health minister says

The number of new cases have surged in recent weeks, leading officials to call on citizens to limit their private gatherings as much as possible.

The health crisis has been hard on Quebec, which has had 66,653 cases to date. The province reported 297 new cases on Friday.

One additional death was recorded, but health authorities say it occurred at an unknown time. The death toll, which remains the highest in the country, stands at 5,792.

The number of hospitalizations remained unchanged from the previous day at 136. Of those patients, there are 30 in intensive care, an increase of one.

The province has given more than 2,000,000 tests since the beginning of the pandemic. Quebec administered 29,726 tests Wednesday, the latest day for which that information is available.

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