Summerside man issued $1K fine for violating COVID-19 health order to self-isolate

Police say a 27-year-old Summerside man has been issued a $1,000 fine for violating a public health order to self-isolate upon returning from another province.

Police warned the man to self-isolate twice before

Summerside Police issued a fine to a man for violating public health orders relating to COVID-19 and self-isolation. (CBC)

Summerside police say a 27-year-old man has been issued a $1,000 fine for violating a public health order to self-isolate upon returning from another province.

It's the first time a fine has been handed out for this offence because of new rules imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon. 

Police issued the summary offence ticket under the Public Health Act at about 10 a.m. Tuesday on Granville Street in Summerside. The man was spotted in the passenger seat of a vehicle.

It was not the first time he had been warned by officials to remain at home and self-isolate.  

Police first discovered that the man had recently returned from a trip off-Island at a traffic stop around 8:30 a.m. Monday. The man was charged with driving with a suspended licence, said Sgt. Jason Blacquiere, and was warned he needed to return home and self-isolate.

On Monday afternoon, police and conservation officers went to the man's home to speak to him about self-isolation and found him walking on Water Street East. At that time they issued a written warning under the Public Health Act to self-isolate, said Blacquiere.

The same officer who stopped him Monday morning pulled him over Tuesday morning and handed him the $1,000 fine.

"He wasn't happy," said Blacquiere. "He was clearly aware of the public health order. He was made aware of it twice yesterday.… He just chose to blatantly disregard it."

Blacquiere said conservation officers are designated as the prime investigative agency in enforcement of public health orders, but police are assisting as needed.

All investigators are wearing masks and other protective equipment when responding to these complaints, he said.

In a briefing last week, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Public Safety Bloyce Thompson announced strict fines for those who ignore the Chief Public Health Office's new health orders. 

Law enforcement can now issue fines starting at $1,000 for the first offence, $2,000 for the second offence and $10,000 for the third and subsequent offences.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Brian Higgins, Sally Pitt