In Sherbrooke, police intervened twice over the weekend to put an end to separate social gatherings that are prohibited during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sherbrooke police first received a phone call on Saturday night about 25 people gathered at a private residence on Belvédère Street.
Police say about a dozen people fled when officers arrived at the scene, but about 16 people between the ages of 17 and 25 were identified.
The partygoers came from the Sherbrooke, Longueuil, Granby and Gatineau areas, according to investigators.
Under public health decrees to stem the tide of COVID-19, police issued 13 tickets of $1,546 to those gathered. One ticket was also given for violating a municipal bylaw.
In Sherbrooke, police received another call on Saturday night about an event at the Microdistillery Bar on Meadow Street in the city’s downtown area. Some 200 people were reportedly present at the bar.
Police say as soon as officers arrived around 11:15 p.m., the music was cut and someone shouted the word “police” into a microphone.
Investigators estimate there were about 200 people in the establishment. Patrons were not physically distancing and most people were not wearing masks.
Several people fled through the back doors, according to police.
Police say that an infraction report will be filed to public health authorities.
The bar, for its part, issued a long statement on its Facebook page to explain what happened.
Last week, the public health department in the Eastern Townships confirmed a recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the region, which is a designated orange zone.
© 2020 The Canadian Press