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Coronavirus: Gatineau house party leads to $1,000 fine for social-distancing breach

Gatineau Police cruiser in downtown Ottawa, Ontario on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg.
Gatineau Police cruiser in downtown Ottawa, Ontario on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg. Lars Hagberg

Police in Gatineau issued what they say is their first ticket since new powers were issued to Quebec police forces to break up groups not respecting social-distancing rules.

The SPVG said police officers responded to a noise complaint an apartment block “in the Hull area” at 12:45 a.m. Thursday. Officers found several people inside the apartment at the centre of the complaint.

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Gatherings of more than two people have been banned in Quebec since March 23, part of the government’s efforts to prevent further community transmission of the novel coronavirus. The only exceptions are for those living in the same household.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Documenting Montreal residents in self-isolation amid COVID-19 pandemic

Officers said two of the five people inside the Gatineau apartment did not live there. After initially trying “an approach based on information and awareness,” police said members of the house party were uncooperative.

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At that point, officers issued the tenants of the apartment a $1,000 ticket for contravening the Public Health Act.

In addition, the tenants were issued an additional ticket of $200, plus administrative costs, for the noise complaint that had first drawn officers to the building.