CORNWALL, Ontario – During a Special Meeting of Cornwall City Council, Cornwall Police Services (CPS) Chief Danny Aikman told council that his service had responded to 56 calls under the provincial COVID-19 Emergency Order.
Chief Aikman told Council that his service had responded to 56 calls for service related to violations of the Emergency Order.
“One business was charged under the act over the weekend and was issued a “significant” fine,” said Aikman.
CPS does not disclose the identities of those charged under provincial emergency orders.
Chiek Aikman said that his service was consulting with the local attorney’s office to determine if a second local business which violated the Emergency Order in March was liable to be charged.
On March 17, Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued an Emergency Order restricting public gatherings and closing non-essential businesses. The order empowers municipal police services and by-law officials to enforce the restrictions.
Currently, gatherings of more than five people are prohibited, excluding businesses deemed essential.
Grocery stores have been directed by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) to limit the number of people in their stores and enforce social distancing.
Public recreation areas such as parks are also closed, and residents are not permitted to use play equipment in public parks.
Aikman explained that currently CPS was focusing on educating the public about the Emergency Order and their restrictions, but that as the weather gets warmer, and it becomes more tempting to go outside, he expects CPS to shift towards enforcement.
“We are fortunate in the community that we have not had widespread COVID-19. And I think that leaves a false sense of security in our community,” he said. “It is in our community, and it will spread in our community, unless we stay at home.”
CPS has also been patrolling areas where stores are closed more frequently, and where stores are open, as essential businesses, CPS officers have gone into the stores to ensure they are following the provincial restrictions.
Aikman also updated council with measures CPS had taken to continue to work safely during the pandemic.
CPS staff have been directed to use Ontario’s online COVID-19 assessment tool daily, and if they fail the assessment, they are to inform their supervisor and stay at home.
CPS is also using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and is screening those who make emergency calls for COVID-19 like symptoms.