by Morinville News Staff
Law enforcement agencies have been granted full authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines to protect the health and safety of Albertans.
Additionally, it is now mandatory for travellers returning from outside of Canada to self-isolate. The new legal requirement also applies to close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as to any individual with symptoms, such as a fever, cough, sore throat or runny nose.
“We must do everything we can to protect Albertans through this pandemic. While the vast majority of Albertans are doing their part to flatten the curve by self-isolating, practising physical distancing or helping those who are self-isolating, some are not,” Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday. “Self-isolation orders are not suggestions or guidelines – they are now the law and they must be followed. Anyone putting their families, their neighbours, or other Albertans at risk will face consequences.”
Community peace officers, in addition to police, will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health orders under amendments to the Procedures Regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act.
Fines now administered through tickets for violating an order have increased from up to $100 per day to a prescribed fine of $1,000 per occurrence for individuals. Kenney said the courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations. The new fines will be in force over the coming days.
“The chief medical officer of health has the full cooperation of community peace officers and local policing to ensure Albertans comply with orders. Albertans’ health is and will always be our top priority, and we will use all necessary enforcement measures to ensure Albertans take this situation seriously by self-isolating and limiting mass gatherings,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer.
Public health orders subject to fines for violation include:
• Any individual who has travelled outside of Canada must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their return, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
• Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or a sore throat.
• Any individual who has been identified by as a close contact of a person(s) with COVID-19 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
• Mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 attendees.
• Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars, and nightclubs is prohibited.
• Visitation to long-term care and other continuing care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.
Kenney said the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints, which can be submitted online. Exemptions will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis by public health officials.