Penalties coming for Albertans who don't obey COVID-19 restrictions
CALGARY -- New penalties look to be on the way for Albertans who get too close.
As social distancing and no group gatherings are preached across the world, many are still not following the rules – and the province says it’s time to step in.
A spring-like day in Calgary meant thousands were out enjoying the warm weather. But a glance at those out and about showed many were too close; standing less than two-metres apart inside dog parks or greeting friends on pathways with a hug or handshake.
For health officials, they’re simple gestures than can end up deadly.
"There are reports across Canada of people not following the advice," said Dr. Marcia Johnson at Alberta's Saturday COVID-19 update. "Here in Alberta we are receiving some of those reports."
"There are always some people who don’t go along with the restrictions."
So, starting next week, the province is stepping in.
Alberta will soon start rolling out parameters for police to become involved in cases where people aren’t following emergency restrictions set out as a result of COVID-19.
It’s expected to include fines for individuals and for services and gatherings of 50 people or more.
"A plan is in place and will be starting to roll out over the next week that would allow public health inspectors to monitor large groups in restaurants and businesses. There’s also power being provided to the police to deal with through fines I believe, for people who might not be following the recommendations."
Further details are expected to be released Monday.
Ontario and Manitoba have already announced similar restrictions surrounding COVID-19. In those provinces, the fines for individuals breaking the rules range from $1,000 to $50,000.
On Saturday, Alberta announced 31 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total number of cases to 226.
Officials believe up to 16 of the cases are due to community spread.