Quebec residents reportedly breaking pandemic rules in Souris, says mayor

The mayor of Souris, P.E.I., says she is hearing "quite a few" reports of Quebec residents visiting places they should not be, in violation of COVID-19 pandemic rules.

Quebec residents stopping at beach and stores, mayor is hearing

Souris is the port for the ferry to Magdalen Islands. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

The mayor of Souris, P.E.I., is hearing "quite a few" reports of Quebec residents visiting places they should not be, in violation of COVID-19 pandemic rules.

Souris is the port that provides ferry access to the Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine), a collection of islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence north of P.E.I. The islands are part of the province of Quebec.

An agreement struck by the governments of Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island allows Quebec residents to drive between mainland Quebec and the Magdalen Islands, though Quebec residents who aren't essential workers are generally not allowed to enter the two other provinces at this time. That 3-province deal came into effect June 26.

While travelling through P.E.I., such Quebec drivers may stop only for gas or to go to the bathroom as they travel straight to the ferry terminal.

"People are concerned because they've witnessed people that are travelling from the Madeleines or to the Madeleines out and about within our parks and within our town, going in and out of garages or stores," said Souris Mayor JoAnne Dunphy.

One store owner in Souris was complaining about Quebec residents in his shop as far back as May. At the time, Quebec residents needed special permission to travel through to the Magdalen Islands.

Many stores have distributed information through the company operating the ferry saying that they are willing to do curbside pickup or delivery at the ferry terminal for people passing through if they call ahead with an order, said Dunphy.

Residents have been calling the RCMP, the P.E.I. Public Health Office or the COVID-19 information line with their concerns, she said, and she has passed on the complaints of some residents to authorities herself. There have even been cases where the RCMP have been called to the local beach.

The mayor met with the members of the Kings District RCMP about the concerns on Tuesday.

Dunphy expects to have reports on those calls available at the town council meeting Monday night.

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