If you were out and about during the Easter weekend you would have noticed a huge police presence. Good weather plus what in normal times would be one of the major family celebrations of the year posed a challenge to the quarantine. And reports on fines by police in the prior week already showed that the discipline to continue being confined was starting to slacken in some quarters.
And so to keep the virus epidemic in check a major combined operation in Monaco and the adjoining communities was launched. Monaco police in tandem with local French and National police gathered at the frontiers of Monaco on the Roquebrune, Beausoleil and Cap d’Ail sides.
No-one got through the sieve without being checked, neither cars nor pedestrians.
Joggers needed to limit their excursions to a kilometre (and less than an hour), and gatherings on boats are not permitted. Car travel is for authorized purposes only – and no car trips for family gatherings in country cottages.
If you headed east on the coast road the police cordon was waiting at Monte Carlo Bay. And on the main route at Saint Roman the French and Monegasque police were massed waiting, working in tandem. Similarly on the Cap d’Ail side.
A Monegasque drone and sea patrols kept eagle eyes on the beaches too. The combination of publicity prior to Easter – that strict compliance would be reinforced – plus the show of numbers of police on the ground got the job done. The goal is to defeat the spread of the virus which depends on people to people contact. The virus is highly contagious and some loss of freedom to move around at will is the unfortunate price that has to be paid. The sacrifice to endure the quarantine is wasted if done in half-measures. The virus will then just re-propagate and create a second wave of infections. So the police had to yield their holiday time and instead work. Fortunately, they are now also well masked against the virus.
As each week passes, after some earlier shortages of protective gear, the situation has improved for both health workers and the police – now evident are some sophisticated washable masks that also protect the eyes.
Police reports in the press indicate that overall the quarantine rules are being respected. Some 150 checks were reported in one one-hour period with fines necessary in about a dozen cases – that is less than 10% of the time. Fines are 135 euros on the French side and 200 euros (100 euros if you settle the fine immediately) on the Monegasque side.
In Monaco there were thousands of checks made, reportedly between three and four thousand in total – again with a delinquency rate not exceeding 10% – in the region of 200 people having been sent home.