COVID-19: Obey health orders or face $1,000 fine

Richard Froese,

South Peace News

People in Alberta who break public health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic now face a fine of $1,000.

Premier Jason Kenney announced the enforcements March 25 in a news release at 3:45 p.m.

“We must do everything we can to protect Albertans through this pandemic,” Kenney says.

To protect the health and safety of Albertans, law enforcement agencies have been granted full authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines.

Fines will be enforced.

The chief medical officer of health has the full co-operation of community peace officers and local policing to ensure Albertans comply with orders.

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.

“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,” Kenney says.

“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.”

Increased steps are being made to protect everyone.

“Health is and will always be our top priority,” Solicitor General and Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer says.

“We will use all necessary enforcement measures to ensure Albertans take this situation seriously by self-isolating and limiting mass gatherings.”

In addition, it is now mandatory for travellers returning from outside Canada to self-isolate.

The 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.

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 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.

-Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars and nightclubs is prohibited.

-Visiting long-term care and other continuing-care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.

The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints, which can be submitted online to www.albertahealthservices.ca.

Exemptions continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis by public health officials.

Quick facts:

All Albertans have a responsibility to help prevent the spread.

Take steps to protect yourself and others:

-Practise social distancing at least six feet apart.

-Stay home and away from others if you sick or in isolation.

-Practise good hygiene – wash hands often for at least 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes and avoid touching your face.

-Monitor for symptoms, such as cough, fever, fatigue or difficulty breathing.

-Anyone who has health concerns or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is advised to complete an online COVID-19 self-assessment.

For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit the website alberta.ca/COVID19.

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