If you're not already following social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine protocols, police are going to be stepping in to make sure you do. Edmonton Police have confirmed that they have been given the all-clear to enforce public health orders. This measure is meant to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.
On March 25, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced that his government had put a policy in place to ensure that residents are following self-isolation guidelines, which would include fining violators up to $1000.
Before that, the government was merely asking the public to practice social distancing in order to fight the spread of the pandemic.
But it seems as though the restrictions have been tightened since then. Now the local Edmonton Police Service has been given the go-ahead to enforce these public health orders.
The Edmonton Police released a statement confirming that they will be enforcing these public health orders if needed. However, they also stated that communication and education will take priority over enforcement for the time being.
Supt. Dean Hilton, of the EPS Pandemic Command, said, "The fundamental focus is for all citizens to adhere to compliance within the Orders."
Though, he continues to say that they now have "An enforcement mechanism" to use on anyone who chooses to disregard the orders.
According to the Public Health Act, non-compliance of these orders may result in fines "ranging from $1,000 to $500,000, depending on the circumstances."
So if you're caught not following public health orders you could be slapped with a huge fine.
Some of the social distancing violations that could get you in trouble with the police include: not self-isolating for a minimum of 14 days upon returning from international travel, not self-isolating for at least 10 days if you're showing symptoms, attending gatherings over 15 people, not maintaining a distance of 2 meters from every other person, and not self-isolating after coming into close contact with an individual infected with COVID-19.
The public health orders that have been put into place recently will be enforced immediately by Edmonton Police and peace officers.
It remains to be seen whether the Calgary Police Service will follow suit. Narcity has reached out to the Calgary Police Service for comment and we will update this story upon receiving a response.
In addition to individuals, the police will also be observing and dishing out fines to non-essential businesses if they're found to be running at this time. However, take-out and delivery services from restaurants are good to keep operating.
The EPS also reiterated that essential businesses that do remain open must adhere to hygiene standards and have a response plan in place in case any one of their employees develops symptoms of the disease.
The police have also alerted the public that they are not to call 911 to snitch on those who are not following public health orders.
There is a separate platform for public complaints.
If the EPS observe anyone outside of their home showing COVID-19 symptoms, then they have the go-ahead to investigate further and enforce their "isolation requirement."
Seeing how expensive some of those fines can get, it's best to just stay home as much as possible and follow public health orders.