SPS address enforcement of stay-at-home order stay-at-home order

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Shelburne Police Services (SPS) has revealed how they plan to enforce the Province’s new emergency declaration and stay-at-home order – ensuring officers won’t be conducting random vehicle or individual stops to check compliance.

In a press release given last Thursday (Jan. 14), media relations officer Sgt. Paul Neumann said the local force’s initiatives for enforcing the order will be both “complaint-driven and proactive, with the goal of gaining compliance.”

“Those that refuse to comply will receive the appropriate penalty,” wrote Neumann in the press release. “Enforcement will be aimed at those individuals who overtly put others in danger in our community.”

The new stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Jan. 14, requires individuals to remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving for an essential purpose such as the grocery store, pharmacy, accessing health-care services, exercising or essential work.

Shelburne Police say that over the past few months the vast majority of cases, where they’ve received a complaint or responded to a call where individuals are in violation, have willingly complied after being educated.

“We expect this to remain the same moving forward and we thank those citizens who are doing their part,” said Neumann.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), while requesting Ontarians to “voluntarily comply” with the new order, also announced through a press release on Jan. 15 how they plan to enforce compliancy.

The OPP said officers will be enforcing the order by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five people.

“In the absence of a complaint or other ground, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an Act,” noted Neumann.

SPS and OPP officers will be enforcing the stay-at-home order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA); dispersing tickets to individuals found non-compliant. Fines for failing to comply with the order include $750 and/or $1000 for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers) from following the order. Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for corporation. Failure to follow the order can result in prosecution or jail time.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press