Two Charges Result From Bylaw Blitz on COVID Restrictions

On Thursday, stricter COVID-19 lockdown measures went into effect in Ontario, and along with that so did new authority for local police services and bylaw officers to make sure people are following the new rules. After one weekend, the City of Guelph announced that residents of the Royal City seem to be doing their part even if other areas of the province are struggling with compliance.

A media statement released by the City on Monday afternoon laid out how bylaw enforcement spent the weekend. They “inspected several big box stores” but laid no charges, and they visited six other businesses responding to calls about them not following the guidelines, but no charges were laid there either.

They did end up laying two charges out of 15 calls made to bylaw about residential gatherings that may have been breaking COVID restrictions. The two charges were placed at the one residence, and they were for $750 each.

Last week, the Guelph Police Service and the City of Guelph said that they will be taking a “proactive and responsive approach.” Both are now authorized by the Provincial government 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. Fines can range from a minimum of $750 to a maximum of $10,000.

Monday marked the beginning of fines being enforced on Guelph Transit after bylaw spent the last week getting people acquainted with the new restrictions, but their hard work seems to be getting results.

According to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the 7-Day moving average of confirmed cases has plateaued at 111.7 per 100,000 after a week of going down, while the 7-Day moving average for test positivity now sits at 4.2 per cent after hitting a ceiling of nearly six per cent a week ago. The current number of active cases up to 432 from 396 since Friday, while there was another fatality from the virus over the weekend to bring that number up to 58.

“We’re not ready to celebrate just yet, but we’re really hoping this is the start of a new trend,” said DCAO of Public Services Colleen Clack-Bush in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who has been and continues doing their part to slow the spread of this virus,”

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development were also busy this weekend with compliance inspecting big box stores in areas of the province that are considered pandemic hotspots. In all, 110 stores in the Great Toronto and Hamilton area were visited by the ministry, and about 70 per cent of them were in compliance.

In other news, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced today that the expansion of Pfizer’s Belgian facility where their COVID-19 vaccine will affect the distribution of shots here in our region in the short term.

“Everyone wants to see vaccines arrive as quickly as possible to the region,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer in a statement. “This delay is only temporary and will allow the manufacturer the ability to provide increased vaccine to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph in the coming weeks. As an agency, our commitment remains, vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible according to the provincial schedule.”

Public Health added that they intent to “move forward aggressively” with the vaccine they have on hand by prioritizing residents, staff and essential caregivers in long term care and retirement homes, but some appointments may have to be rescheduled.

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