Police were called to intervene at the scene of a gathering that took place near a place of worship in Montreal’s Outremont borough on Sunday morning.
Officers however did not distribute any tickets because they say everyone had already dispersed once they arrived on the scene. Police say around 100 people were gathered for a funeral.
According to witnesses, some people did not wear face coverings and did not respect the distancing rules, as stipulated by sanitary measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. A citizen who witnessed the scene alerted the police to the situation.
“A call was made to 911 about the gathering of several people during a funeral service outside the intersection of Hutchison and Saint-Viateur streets,” said Caroline Chèvrefils, spokesperson for the Montreal police.
The vice-president of the Council of Hasidic Jews, Max Lieberman, however, said it was the funeral of one of their own.
Lieberman admitted that there were about a hundred people, but insisted that everything happened outside, that everyone was wearing a mask and were at a safe distance.
He added that police were called to the synagogue to find that there was no funeral being held inside, and that is why they left. Lieberman insisted that everything was legal.
Organized gatherings in public places in Quebec red zones are prohibited with the exception of funerals — which have a maximum attendance rule of 25 people. Keeping an attendance registry is also asked from venue owners.
While outdoor demonstrations are permitted, social distancing measures and the wearing of a mask or face cover are mandatory at all times.
Police say they will now write a report that will be submitted to the police department’s morality section, which could use images captured by nearby surveillance cameras to corroborate possible break-ins.