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Stay-at-home order – what it means

January 28, 2021   ·   0 Comments

With the Ontario government’s current state-of-emergency and stay-at-home orders telling people not to go out unless it’s for essential reasons, many people are unsure of exactly what that means.

Local police and by-law officers have been granted authority to issue tickets to anyone who is not complying with the “stay at home” order.

This includes people who are not wearing a mask or face covering indoors while at stores, business, or any facilities that are still open. The rule also applies to retail businesses and other companies that don’t enforce the mask rule on their premises.

If you do go out, there are legitimate reasons for being outside of your home.

Anyone working for an essential business can travel to work and conduct business.

For individuals, people are asked to stay home unless you are doing necessary trips like obtaining food, medical help, or picking up something from the drugstore.

While the stay-at-home rule is in effect, that doesn’t mean the police will be on the streets questioning everyone they see.

Police have been told they cannot stop vehicles for the sole purpose of determining if a person has a legitimate reason to be on the road.

However, if you are stopped for a Highway Traffic Act violation, expect an officer to ask you where you are going.

When it comes to households, police do not have the right to enter homes to determine if the stay-at-home and no contact rules are being followed.

You may receive a knock on the door, however, if you happen to have a neighbour who doesn’t like the fact that there is a strange car in your driveway and calls police to report an illegal gathering. Police and official are required to respond to those calls.

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, police, and bylaw enforcement personnel are dealing with these issues on a complaint basis, but so far have refrained from issuing tickets unless there is a sizable gathering.

If you decide to throw a party with 50 of your closest friends, that will most likely land you in hot water, and you can be fined.

Failure to comply with “no contact” restrictions could result in an $875 penalty for individuals. For business, that fine could be as much as $100,000.

The stay-at-home order will remain in effect for 28 days and possibly longer if COVID-19 numbers don’t improve.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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