Not obeying health rules in this province could be pretty costly. COVID-19 in P.E.I. has caused officials to ban gatherings of more than five people and the RCMP will be cracking down on it. For anyone caught not complying with this, there are hefty fines and possibly even jail time.

P.E.I. RCMP are working with the provincial government to enforce rules surrounding how people can gather during COVID-19.

This is in line with the province's Public Health Order from March 31 which banned people from gathering in groups of more than five people.

Though that order doesn't apply to healthcare or social services facilities, businesses or workplaces that are permitted to operate or people living in the same home.

Fines for violating the Public Health Order start at $1,000 but go up with each offence.

Under the province's Public Health Act, law enforcement can hand out fines starting at $1,000 for the first offence, $2,000 for the second offences and $10,000 for the third and any following ones.

Also, repeat offenders could be held in custody and possibly get up to six months in jail.

"We're urging all Islanders to stay home, and abide by Public Health orders and recommendations of Dr. Morrison. If you must leave your home, abide by social distancing and other health recommendations," said chief superintendent Jennifer Ebert, commanding officer of P.E.I. RCMP, in a news release.

P.E.I. RCMP noted that the message behind the penalties isn't the amount of money someone has to pay for not following the rules, it's the risk they're putting everyone in by gathering in groups.

"Compliance will save lives. Do your part; stop the spread," said Ebert.

The police force is also asking people not to gather in any groups where it's not possible to keep two metres away from others.

Other parts of Canada have also cracked down on gatherings and social distancing.

Ontario has banned gatherings of more than five people as well and people in Toronto can be fined up to $5,000 if convicted for not being two metres apart in a park or public square.

The penalties for not following orders during COVID-19 range from $100 to thousands of dollars to jail time.

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