Police services in Owen Sound and Saugeen Shores are focusing on education and re-direction to deal with new provincial orders, including the closure of all outdoor recreation amenities in Ontario, including beaches, playgrounds and sports fields.
The Province has adjusted the Provincial Offences Act to include three charges police can enforce:
-Failure to comply with an order made during a declared emergency
-Obstruct any person exercising a power in accordance with an order made during a declared emergency
-Obstruct any person performing a duty in accordance with an order made during a declared emergency
Fines could range between $750-1,000.
Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose says they have already been contacted on a number of occasions of people in contravention of orders, or businesses in contravention with the mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces.
Ambrose says Owen Sound Police is starting with enforcement as a last resort, and going through education and trying to get volutnary compliance.
"Obviously, enforcement is an option," says Ambrose. "But, even the government and the direction we've received from them has been ... try to start with the education part of it first."
Ambrose says there are daily occurences that require education, and if there are repeat offenders there are provisions that are entrusted to police to do enforcement.
"Our officers as well, when they're out on patrol, they're keeping their distance and talking and educated people on a daily basis," Ambrose says.
Saugeen Shores Police Sergeant Andy Evans says he expects people will adhere to those conditions.
"Certainly if there's repeat violators and there comes a time when we need to lay a charge we will look at it, at that time."
Evans says officers will be on general patrol and expects people will report violations to officers. He says if people post on social media they will not get immediate response from police.
"For the most part people are adhering to the rules with a few exceptions," says Evans, adding he is not surprised by the buy-in from the community.
On Monday, Evans says police received calls from the public informing them about gatherings of more than five people.
Evans says those calls were about employees working at an essential service.
Residents are reminded that restaurants (for take-out and delivery services) Emergency Services, grocery stores and many other businesses are considered "essential services".