Police clarify enforcement of Ontario's stay-at-home order
BARRIE, ONT. -- The stay-at-home order is now in full effect across the province.
It's the government's latest attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 as case counts surge.
Everyone is expected to remain in their home, except for essential activities, which Premier Doug Ford said people are urged to "use their best judgement" to decide what that would mean.
Police chiefs from across Ontario took part in a conference call Wednesday evening, receiving direction from the solicitor general on how to enforce the new rules.
Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose said the regulations are relatively straightforward and come with a wide range of fines for anyone not complying.
He said officers wouldn't be pulling over vehicles at random, but if they stop someone for speeding or other infractions, they will ask drivers if there is a valid reason they are outside of their home. Police also cannot randomly enter homes without cause.
Tickets could be issued to anyone police find aren't on an essential outing.
Residents could face fines of $750 for failing to comply with the order and $1,000 for preventing others from complying. Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for corporations. There is also the threat of possible jail time.
Ambrose said he expects the number of calls from 'snitching' neighbours to increase, much like they did during the first wave.
Meanwhile, police are urging the public not to call 9-1-1 with questions regarding Ontario's stay-at-home order.
They said emergency dispatchers had reported a surge in callers wanting more information on the new regulations.
Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford seemed irritated by the notion people were left dazed and confused by the rules of the new order, saying, "There is no confusion here, folks. There is no confusion. Stay home. Stay home. Stay home."
The stay-at-home order went into effect on Thurs., Jan.14, and will remain in place for at least 28 days.