Operation Red Nose cancels drive-home service for holiday season due to COVID-19

Claude Albert, left, and Operation Nez rouge founder Jean-Marie De Koninck look at memorabilia before leaving the headquarter in Quebec City on Dec. 13, 2018. Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press

Operation Red Nose is cancelling its annual drive-home service for the upcoming holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization announced the decision Wednesday, saying it will apply to all areas in which it operates due to the “exceptional situation.” This includes Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

“The safety of our volunteers, clients, and local host organizations has always been one of our top priorities,” said executive director Jean-Philippe Giroux in a statement.

“The decision was made after long and careful consideration, and not without emotion.”

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READ MORE: Police to crack down on distracted driving across Quebec

The initiative, which began in Quebec City in 1984, is run by volunteers who drive partygoers and their vehicle to their homes after a night out. During the 2019 holiday season, 52,578 safe rides were given in Quebec alone.

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Operation Red Nose says it will still launch an awareness campaign in November to promote safe habits behind the wheel.

“In the meantime, we want to remind everyone to always plan ahead for a safe way to get home,” said Giroux.

The organization recommends Canadians who are celebrating the holidays to make their own arrangements in advance, such as having a designated driver or calling a taxi.

Click to play video: 'Operation Nez Rouge' Operation Nez Rouge
Operation Nez Rouge – Nov 16, 2016

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