The new Ontari0-wide lockdown went into effect on Thursday morning at 12:01 am, but it’s been reported in recent days that people still don’t know entirely what that means. In a joint statement, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and the Guelph Police Service tried to lay down some lines for Guelphites to follow about how to manage your quarantine, and what might happen if you break it.
In the media release Thursday afternoon, Guelph Police said that they will be taking a “proactive and responsive approach” to enforcing the new guidelines. Guelph Bylaw will be focusing on large retail stores to make sure they’re complying with the new emergency orders, and to make sure everyone is wearing a mask or other face covering.
The Police added that while their officer and bylaw officers from the City may disperse crowds, they will not be stopping people while they’re driving, walking, running, cycling or skating.
As previously announced by the City of Guelph, police and bylaw will be authorized to dispense tickets and fines for indoor gatherings among people that don’t live together, outdoor gatherings with more than five people, and people who refuse to wear face coverings when required. Failure to comply could result in a $750 fine, while obstructing anyone from performing their duty could result in a $10,000 fine.
One specific area of concentration is Guelph Transit. The City of Guelph announced Tuesday that bylaw would be spending this week informing people about mask compliance on Transit buses before actively enforcing fines starting Monday January 18.
“The province is calling for more enforcement and gave us more tools to respond using a fair and reasonable approach. Most people know masks are required on transit, and most people wear them; some have good reasons why they can’t,” said DCAO of Public Services Colleen Clack-Bush in a statement. “We’ll use this week to educate riders about possible charges and fines before we start issuing tickets on Monday.”
Guelph Police said Thursday that while provincial orders give them new authority, they realize that there’s still a lot of confusion in the community about what’s permitted and what’s not permitted. “Local police and bylaw officers are hoping people will co-operate voluntarily, but are prepared to issue fines as appropriate,” the statement said.
The joint statement was posted today after public health posted on their own website that they were experiencing higher than normal call volumes about the stay-at-home order and other enhanced measures.
As Guelph (and the rest of the province) goes under lockdown the daily numbers from Public Health continue to offer some hope.
On Thursday, the new 7-Day moving rate of confirmed cases for 100,000 people is 119.4, which is a decrease from 133 when the number was last updated earlier this week. The 7-Day moving average for test positivity has fallen to 5.1 per cent, which is a decrease of about three-quarters of a per cent since Friday. While there were 53 new cases on Thursday, the total number of active cases in our region is now 418 including 244 in Guelph alone.