The head of security and bylaw services with the City of Greater Sudbury says officers are working to educate the public on COVID-19 rules before issuing tickets.
Under the province’s emergency orders, fines can be issued for not following rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as gathering in large groups or having a business open that is not classified as essential.
Brendan Adair says to enforce these rules, the city had to take on additional responsibilities from the province to enforce the emergency act.
“We’ve been very, very busy,” he said. “It wasn’t something that we forecasted and staff have worked extremely hard to keep up with that.”
Adair says they’ve received 449 calls about gatherings, 179 calls about businesses being open when they shouldn’t be and 80 calls about being in closed areas of parks.
“We’re looking at 700 plus calls that we didn’t forecast,” he said.
“It has been very busy considering we didn’t take on any additional resources.”
Adair says providing education to residents is the first step.
“Sometimes people don’t know the rules,” he said. “They may understand high level details but they may not understand how it specifically applies to them.”
So far, one fine has been issued for a non-essential business being open.
“We’ve received complaints that it’s not necessarily a violation,” he said.
“For example, we’ve received complaints of a group of three individuals walking down the roadway, shoulder to shoulder and they’re hugging. That’s not a violation.”
Adair says police are also taking calls about COVID-19 concerns.