47 tickets issued for COVID violations as protests continue in Calgary

·2 min read
47 tickets issued for COVID violations as protests continue in Calgary

The City of Calgary has now issued 47 tickets under the Public Health Act since its second state of local emergency due to COVID-19 was declared on Nov. 25, the city said in an enforcement update on Wednesday.

Of those violation tickets, 33 were issued since its last update since last Thursday, the city said.

Meanwhile, the temporary COVID-19 face coverings bylaw has resulted in 61 tickets since it came into effect in August — 20 of which were also issued since since last Thursday.

One ticket has been issued for failure to display appropriate signage in an entryway of an indoor public space — the only one of its kind administered since August, the update said.

Police, bylaw officers enforce regulations

The new ticketing numbers comes as hundreds of people have marched through the streets of Calgary to protest the COVID restrictions over the last few weeks.

Tensions have mounted in Calgary over measures intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and how those measures are being enforced.

The Calgary Police Service said two people were charged following a rally against public health restrictions in Calgary last Saturday, while several hundred protesters gathered again on Sunday to march down Stephen Avenue.

On Saturday, police arrested a 21-year-old man after he allegedly failed to comply with a public health rules for physical distancing at a pick-up hockey game at Southwood community rink.

Despite signage posted at the site, police said more than 40 people were using the rink — breaking gathering restrictions intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Police said in a statement on Saturday that the man was arrested for obstruction of an officer and resisting arrest after allegedly trying to avoid a ticket by refusing to identify himself.

Provincial health orders bar outside gatherings. Those in violation can be hit with tickets that start at $1,000. Calgary's mask bylaw carries fines starting at $100.

Outdoor skating rinks are allowed to be open, per new provincial restrictions announced by the province earlier this month. Skating rink operators are responsible to set maximum levels of participation, and skaters who are members of different households must maintain the standard two-metre distancing at all times.

On Dec. 17, the city reaffirmed its commitment to enforcing the restrictions.

"The City of Calgary will continue to investigate and actively enforce at planned events and protests that create the greatest risk to the public in violation of the [Public Health Act]," the city said in a release.

The city has formed a public compliance team that will conduct weekly inspections for the foreseeable future.