21 Londoners fined for breaking emergency measures rules
Bylaw officers were the most busy dealing with skateboarders
Twenty-one Londoners were hit in the pocket book for not respecting physical distancing rules in public places this past weekend.
Chief Municipal Law Enforcement Officer, Orest Katolyk said bylaw officers also issued numerous warnings to people.
Katolyk, along with 16 other officers, began patrolling Saturday and found multiple occasions where people were not following rules laid out under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
On a regular weekend, between two and four bylaw officers are working.
The act has allowed the city to close playgrounds, golf courses, skate parks and dog parks, with provincial orders shuttering non-essential businesses.
"The busiest area was skateboard parks throughout London," said Katolyk.
"We also had police backup, which was very helpful because there were a few incidents where people were refusing to identify themselves."
Failing to comply with an order results in a $750 fine. Obstructing a person enforcing an order is $1,000. All 21 Londoners received the lesser fine, although with the victim and administrative surcharges, the total bill is $880.
Katolyk said the rules should be very clear.
"When you go into a park these days it's a different setting. There's danger tape around playground equipment, around the multi-use courts. There's signage everywhere," he said.
"It's simply people refusing to abide by this emergency order. The vast vast majority of Londoners are trying hard, they're making sacrifices and they're adhering to these provincial emergency orders," Katolyk added.
"But there are a few, and it's specifically with skateboard parks where the people seem to think that this won't affect them."
Mayor Ed Holder commented on the charges on CBC's London Morning on Monday. "I guess if we can't provide education or people aren't prepared to be educated, we have to educate their bank accounts."
Holder said the city's information line, set up at the end of March to field calls from concerned citizens, has been working well and has reduced calls to 9-1-1.
"A lot of well-meaning people have called in, sometimes more than once for the same situation," Holder said.
"Most of it's in terms of social behaviour, some calls are in terms of questions about businesses and whether they should or should not be open."
Londoners can either send an email to COVIDOrderConcerns@london.ca or call 519-661-4660 between 8:30 a.m and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act Orders:
- Engaging in activities at closed outdoor structures, including playgrounds, courts, skate parks and golf courses.
- Opening non-essential businesses.
- Gathering in groups more than five people.
- Disobeying federal quarantine orders.
- Businesses price-gouging for essential services.