Police want public to help them identify potential COVID-19 rule breakers

·3 min read
Three people, including the owner of Toulany's Pizza in Porters Lake, N.S., have been fined $1,000 each for failing to wear a mask in a public place. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
Three people, including the owner of Toulany's Pizza in Porters Lake, N.S., have been fined $1,000 each for failing to wear a mask in a public place. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

Police in Nova Scotia say the public is playing an important role in helping officers enforce COVID-19 restrictions that are in place in the province.

Officers can't be everywhere, so tips from the public are helping police address matters and they want to see that continue.

"If individuals see people they believe are not following the directives given by Public Health, then we would encourage them to contact police," said Const. John MacLeod with Halifax Regional Police.

"We'll look at these circumstances on a case-by-case basis and determine the appropriate actions in those cases."

If someone inside a public place like a grocery store is not wearing a mask, police say they want to be called.
If someone inside a public place like a grocery store is not wearing a mask, police say they want to be called.(Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Those cases resulted in multiple fines last weekend.

Halifax Regional Police ticketed 22 people for breaking COVID-19 regulations after a large gathering on Jubilee Road in the city's south end that began on Friday night. Another on Brunswick Street was over the gathering limit and two more men were fined $1,000 each.

Halifax District RCMP have also been busy handling many tips from the public.

Three people were given $1,000 fines at Toulany's Pizza in Porters Lake, including owner John Toulany, for failing to wear a mask in a public place. Toulany told CBC he will not pay the fine because he's unable to wear a mask due to a health condition.

Officers also fined three people related to a gathering in Waverley. And over the weekend, Kings County RCMP charged four people with violating the Health Protection Act after a party with 30 or so people in Wolfville early Sunday morning.

Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Iain Rankin have both been driving home the message to Nova Scotians that it is critical to adhere to the restrictions in order to keep the numbers of positive COVID cases from rising even higher.

Nova Scotians are now being asked to avoid travel outside their immediate communities unless it's for essential reasons, like work or medical appointments. People were already asked not to travel in and out of the Halifax area as of last Friday when the region was placed under a four-week lockdown. Fines have now also doubled to $2,000.

"If an RCMP member in the Annapolis Valley were to come into contact with someone from the city then they would investigate that to try and determine why they are there," said Cpl. Chris Marshall, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia RCMP. "Each situation is going to bear its own set of facts and will be different."

Marshall said many of the COVID calls RCMP deal with are a result of the public getting involved and letting them know of any potential issue.

One area the RCMP does not have to worry about is traffic coming into the province at the New Brunswick border. Checkpoints there are being handled by personnel from Nova Scotia's Department of Lands and Forestry and RCMP are only called in if someone breaching conditions.

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