Social distancing fines for residents in Vancouver

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Since the increase of COVID-19 cases in Canada, also after it was confirmed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife was positive for COVID-19, and the closure of the northern border to non-essential travels, the Canadian government encouraged many to enforce the protocol of social distancing. Advising them to try and avoid big crowds and leaving their homes for unnecessary reasons.

But it has become clear that many Canadians are not looking to comply with the rest. There were reports from across the country over the weekend of people flouting those orders by congregating in parks, beaches and other public areas despite warnings from public health officials that isolating from other people is a critical means of trying to limit the spread of the virus.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that there will be no tolerance for those who disregard orders to socially distance from others in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Trudeau’s warning comes as provinces and territories over the weekend threatened to roll out fines and potentially even criminal enforcement measures like arrests in order to enforce social distancing.

One city that can already be seen enforcing the protocol with a non-compliant fine is Vancouver, looking to fine up to $50K for those not respecting the protocol of social distancing.

The city’s council voted in favor on Monday on a motion to modify the bylaw passed last week, which resulted in the declaration of a city-wide state of emergency.

The motion makes it an offence not to comply with the state of emergency bylaw, and imposes a fine of up to $50,000. Individuals can be fined up to $1,000 under certain circumstances, decision will be left under choice of City of Vancouver bylaw officers.

Persons not practicing physical distancing in certain areas can be fined as much as $1,000. These fines would be similar to parking tickets, and could be fought in court. The tickets cannot be handed out for those standing too close on sidewalks and streets. Fines to people and industries would be issued by the city's bylaw officers.

Trudeau said he would be speaking with leaders from across the country this past Monday evening to discuss how they can work together to crack down on those ignoring social distancing. He also urged Canadians to understand that by listening to those orders is their duty to the country, and staying home is their way to serve.

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