18 tickets issued since Nov. 24 for COVID-19 public health violations in Calgary
Additional tickets related to the pandemic have been issued for other bylaw violations
Enforcement against those flouting public health regulations has increased in Calgary.
Since the city's mask bylaw went into effect at the beginning of August, 21 tickets have been issued, six of those since Dec. 2, "including those resulting from organized gatherings or protests that continue to be investigated," according to a city news release issued late Thursday.
Calgary police and bylaw officers say they've issued a total of 18 tickets for violations against the Alberta Public Health Act since Nov. 24 — seven of those since Monday.
Nov. 24 is when Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency, along with a slate of new restrictions that were to remain in place for three weeks — an attempt to stem the surge of COVID-19 cases across the province. He also announced at that time that peace officers or police could fine those who break the restrictions $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts.
As COVID-19 infections continued to soar, the Alberta government cracked down further on Dec. 8, ordering the closure of all casinos and gyms, banned dine-in service at restaurants and bars, and imposing a mandatory provincewide mask requirement among other restrictions. Some of those restrictions kick in on Sunday.
"On Tuesday, two tickets were issued under the Public Health Act for gatherings or protests held on the weekend, and the events remain under investigation," reads the city news release issued late Thursday.
"Three additional tickets have been issued to event organizers in Calgary this week, including violations of the parks and pathways bylaw (for holding an event without permit) and the park protection bylaw (for attaching signs to trees)."
Three tickets were issued for a "religious assembly" that too
k place without a development or building permit and resulted in fines under the city's land use bylaw. Each ticket was for $3,000.
"I realize a lot of the focus is on the enforcement of the Public Health Act, but I want to raise this to demonstrate that we have a variety of legislative tools that can be used if activities or services are being provided right now in a manner that places the health and safety of others at risk," said Ryan Pleckaitis, the city's chief bylaw officer, on Wednesday in relation to the religious gathering.
The city says it's working with Alberta Health Services to monitor businesses as new restrictions come into force on Sunday.