COVID-19 and the law – what the police can do to protect residents

By Lindsay Advocate

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the State of Emergency enacted by the Province of Ontario, local police note we have witnessed an unprecedented number of changes to how we live our day to day lives.

The Kawartha Lakes Police Service would like to share some important information about a few of the measures that are being taken by the federal, provincial and our local municipal government to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Restriction of Gatherings

People are not to gather in groups of more than five people either in a public place, or even in a private location such as a residence:

  • This does not apply to members of a single household made up of more than five people, or for a funeral service that is attended by not more than 10 people

The Quarantine Act

On March 26 the federal government invoked the Quarantine Act. This act is primarily used to enforce emergency orders prohibiting some people from entering Canada. Travellers who are permitted to enter the country are mandated to go directly home and self-quarantine for two weeks.

  • This act does not permit the police to force people who have tested positive for COVID-19 stay in their home and self-isolate. There is currently no emergency legislation which gives police this authority.

Kawartha Lakes Park Closures

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all municipal park spaces within the City of Kawartha Lakes remain accessible, however, all amenities within parks are temporarily closed until further notice. Closed park amenities include:

  • Playgrounds, sports fields, sport courts, skateboard parks, picnic areas, outdoor exercise equipment and washroom facilities

 Requirement to Identify Yourself

Members of the public are legally required to identify themselves if they are charged with breaching an emergency order.

  • Our officers will not be randomly requesting individuals for identification, the authority to request identification in this context relates specifically to persons who are being charged with an offence under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This requirement is the same authority contained in other legislation such as the Highway Traffic Act and the Trespass to Property Act. Police officers must be able to identify individuals who are being charged with an offence related to the health crisis facing our communities.

To ensure the safety and security of our community, and to enforce the new measure taking place with the implementation of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Kawartha Lakes Police Service has added extra patrols in the downtown core, local residential and business areas, as well as around parks and outdoor spaces.

Officers will be attempting to educate the public about these new restrictions, but enforcement through charges will take place if necessary. Please help police to protect you, and the community by staying home.

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