Traffic control measures are underway in Terrebonne, a city located north of Montreal, in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Mayor Marc-André Plante said only residents from Les Moulins and L’Assomption regional municipal counties will be permitted to shop at supermarkets and big-box stores in the area.
The Terrebonne, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines and Bois-des-Filion police forces will be working together to enforce the new rules, he added.
“We are asking all citizens to collaborate calmly and to follow the directives issued by authorities,” said Plante in a video posted to the city’s social media pages.
The restrictions, which came into effect on Monday, follow a directive from the Lanaudière public health department regarding the pandemic.
Plante explained there will be a boost in police presence at the Carrefour des Fleurs shopping centre, at the intersections of highways 40 and 640. Shoppers could be asked to show proof of address and their driver’s licence.
Terrebonne officials say the shopping centre is grounds for community transmission of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
In Quebec, authorities have rolled out sweeping measures in the fight against the disease, including closing non-essential businesses until May 4.
There are more than 8,500 cases in the province — including 491 in the Lanaudière region — as of Monday.
Terrebonne’s restriction was applauded by Quebec Premier François Legault on Tuesday. The government has clamped down on non-essential travel between regions over the past few weeks.
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said.
In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city is also encouraging residents to do their part by running errands and shopping at nearby businesses. Residents are asked to avoid travelling across the area during the pandemic.
“We say to people stay home so if they have to buy stuff they can do it close to home,” said city councillor Yan Maisonneuve.
France Archambault, who lives in Terrebonne, welcomed the new rule to reserve shopping at local stores to residents. She hasn’t left the region due to COVID-19.
“I don’t go to Montreal because of it,” she said, referring to the pandemic.
However, the restrictions don’t sit well with everyone. Lavaltrie resident Benoit Sylvestre said he was surprised by the move.
“It’s like saying to Quebecers that you’re Laval residents or that you are people from Joliette,” he said. “I find that harsh.”
— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and the Canadian PressView link »