Police, bylaw officers enforcing provincial emergency measures

A NEW NORMAL- County of Prince Edward worker Jason Young makes preparations for a more permanent physical barrier to the Benson Park Playground equipment in early April. The municipality announced Thursday its reopening some parks and public recreation areas. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)
JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

The County of Prince Edward and the Prince Edward OPP detachment are getting serious about social distancing and enforcing the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Both OPP officers and municipal bylaw enforcement personal were in the public this weekend, ensuring community members were practicing safe social distancing, not congregating in groups of more than five and not using municipal recreational amenities.

While it may be a scene reminiscent of Stalin’s Soviet Union, this is the new necessary normal while Canada tries to the ‘Flatten the curve’ of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Prince Edward OPP Media Relations Officer Aaron Miller, the detachment fielded 33 calls for service over the weekend in addition to being present in the community to remind the public what is expected during this unheralded time.

Part of that education process involved OPP bicycle patrols being conducted on the Millennium Trail.

This patrol resulted in a number of reminders regarding physical distancing.

“The OPP is fully committed to public safety and is utilizing all tools to assist in keeping the community safe,” Miller said.

The fine for failing to comply with the provincial order is $750. Failing to give the by-law enforcement officer your name is considered obstruction and carries a fine of $1,000.

These fines have already been levied in the Quinte area as Belleville Police Service were called to to a business on Millennium Parkway on Sunday evening where about 25 people were congregated in close quarters around vehicles, smoking and socializing.

The organizer of the group identified himself and was hit with a $750 fine.

In an emergency, the public can still reach the OPP by calling 911, but if you are reporting something that does not require immediate police assistance such as a large gathering or failure to maintain social distancing, please call 1-888-310-1122

Meanwhile, the County of Prince Edward announced Friday that Municipal bylaw enforcement is working to ensure the public complies with the provincial-wide emergency order closing all outdoor recreational amenities.

The province on March 30 issued an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities. This includes but is not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, benches, skateboard parks picnic areas, and beaches.

While the municipality had placed caution tape around playground structures and gathering points at parks under their purview, preparations for more permanent barriers were being performed Monday.

Green spaces that the public can walk through such as trails, shoreline, and boardwalk areas remain open for walkthrough access provided that individuals maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others.

The County has posted signs and barricaded where possible all outdoor recreational amenities. Walking along the Millennium Trail and the waterfront at the Wellington Beach is permitted but congregating on the beach is not allowed and fines will be issued.

County by-law enforcement officers will be monitoring all recreational facilities to ensure compliance with the order. They will also be enforcing the order limiting public gatherings to fewer than five people.

Up to date information on the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is posted on the County website: www.thecounty.ca/county-residents/covid-19.