City hall and the RCMP detachment have been getting calls from people who feel others are not following physical distancing.
But while the provincial government has issued strong guidance to stay at least two metres (six feet) apart, there is no direct health order for the public that addresses this, says city official David Block.
What the city’s two bylaw officers and RCMP officers can do is issue information and advice to individuals, monitor facilities and businesses that have been told to close under provincial health orders, monitor whether businesses who have been given advice and information have complied and report any information on non-compliance to provincial health officials.
“If our bylaw officers receive these complaints [about physical distancing], they will be reminding those callers that anyone who is unwell should call 8-1-1 for assistance, and that they should call 9-1-1 if they see someone in distress,” Block said.
“If they have seen someone who appears to be well but who is not properly physically distancing themselves from others , they should simply not engage or interact with that person. The bylaw or RCMP officer does not need to refer these situations to a health officer.”
This does not mean members of the public should not contact the city’s bylaw officers, said Block.
“When it comes to contacting our bylaw officers, we encourage the public to do their part by ensuring their concern is truly an enforceable complaint under the [public health] orders,” he continued.
“As always, a great first step is communication — ask a manager at the business about their requirements under the provincial orders. Now is the time we must work together to help ensure everyone is doing their part,” said Block.
“If an individual does determine the bylaw officer should be involved in a situation, they should call 250-615-4037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A provincial health order last week helped clarify the role of municipal bylaw enforcement officers with the solicitor general Mike Farnworth saying they play an important role.
“It’s important that communities, and those responsible for compliance, have clear and consistent guidelines to enforce the provincial health officer’s orders so businesses can adapt their workplaces and help keep people safe,” he said.
Here’s what is not allowed under public health orders:
– Events with 50+ people
– Leaving your house before 14-day self-isolation is complete after returning home from outside of Canada
Operation of personal service establishments
Operation of nightclubs and bars
Sit-in service at restaurants
Sale of anything other than essential foods or processed foods for takeout at farmers markets
And here is what is allowed:
Worksites, grocery stores, malls, food banks, or homeless shelters with 50+ people
Getting family or friends to safely deliver you necessities when you’re in self-isolation after returning
Sale of gift cards for future use or any other remote service (instruction, etc.)
Delivery or takeout with specific social distancing instructions
Sale of essential foods (fruits/veggies) or processed foods (cooked etc.) for takeout