The red ribbons were out at Timmins Police HQ on Wednesday, for the launch of the festive RIDE anti-impaired driving campaign.

Police officials joined with MADD for the annual photo op.

Communications coordinator Marc Depatie says during the holidays, a strong focus will be on pop-up RIDE checks and other enforcement initiatives.

“We want people to be out celebrating and enjoying the festive season,” he remarks. “That’s important. But you have to plan ahead and make the appropriate choices now, so that you don’t end up in a precarious position moving down the road.”

For the first time in anyone’s memory, Santa Claus wasn’t part of the observance.  He’s limiting pre-Christmas trips from the North Pole, to avoid exposing his elves to COVID-19.

Depatie says the pandemic changes the way business is done, but police aren’t neglecting public safety.  He adds that they’re expecting celebrations this holiday season, within bubbles.

“That means quite often the indulging in the consumption of alcoholic beverages to help ring in the festive season,” the communications coordinator notes. “That’s all well and good, so long as car keys don’t play a part in that equation.”

Municipal and provincial police across the region are stepping up enforcement until after New Year’s,