As of Wednesday at noon, new roadside checkpoints have been established by the Sûreté du Québec in Outaouais in accordance with the new measure imposed by the Québec Government to limit the spread of COVID-19, especially in less affected but vulnerable areas, such as the Pontiac. Patrol cars will be ’’set up at strategic points’’ to limit movement between regions with exceptions to essential travellers only.
The Warden of the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais, and English spokesperson for the Conférence des préfets of the Outaouais, Caryl Green.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in the Outaouais region, less than five of which have been identified in the different Outaouais MRCs, aside from Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, which still not identified a single case of the virus.
Prevention for cottagers
Representing Chantal Lamarche; the president of the Conference des Préfets de l’Outaouais, the Warden of the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais, Caryl Green also explained that the checkpoints will also allow the Sûreté to inform tourists and travelers.
Caryl Green also said that the control points may will allow those who’s trips are deemed essential from travelling on both sides of the Outaouais region. However, such travel as purchasing groceries must be done in our region.
Exceptions in the Pontiac
When talking to the Sergeant Marc Tessier of the Sûreté du Québec, who is working alongside the different MRCs to enforce this new measure, said he recognizes that the MRC Pontiac has few big box stores for purchases that are considered essential. “It’s case by case. Of course there is a difference between Gatineau, which has several stores so people can avoid going to Ottawa, and the Pontiac. I know you don’t really have big box stores or big grocery stores, but people still have to eat.” In this case, Tessier believes that this is a “justifiable” situation with authorities. However, the intentions of the Ontario Provincial Police on their side of the border remain to be seen.
Effectiveness of random roadside checks
The police will be deployed randomly, so there is no indication of the place or times scheduled for the roadblocks. The effectiveness of this method was a topic asked directly to the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, Wednesday, since it does not provide permanent monitoring. For the time being, he said the government is counting on the good faith of the citizens.
The Premier took advantage of the announcement of new traffic control points to issue a warning to people who still congregate in public places and to non-essential businesses and merchants that are still open. "It is illegal, but most of all it is irresponsible. There are lives at stake, ”he said.
As of Tuesday March 31st, 2020, at 9:00 p.m., there are 4,611 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec, 307 hospitalizations, 82 of which are in intensive care. The death toll is at 33.