City police in ‘almost untenable position’ enforcing COVID-19 laws

City police in 'almost untenable position' enforcing COVID-19 laws

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It’s a reflection of a confusing, frustrating time for both officers and the public who are grappling with how to comply with restrictions like physical distancing and masking, said Ayliffe.

“Good Calgarians are still working through these rules and trying to figure out the kind of space they need to be in to be safe,” he said.

“It is stressing people out to the max, we’re seeing that and we’re going to continue to see that.”

There’ll be no tolerance for those who blatantly flout safety restrictions, said Ayliffe, “but we also want to make sure there’s compassion when we’re dealing with people who are trying hard to get through a very difficult time.”

On Thursday, the city said 40 tickets for failing to wear a mask where they’re mandatory have been issued since Aug. 1 while 25 charges under the Public Health Act have been handed out since Nov. 25 after a provincial state of emergency was declared.

A handful of $50 and $1,200 tickets have been issued to organizers of demonstrations protesting COVID-19 restrictions, including three since last weekend’s events with two more to come from those, say city officials.

Ayliffe said officers won’t be “going into the crowds” to serve fines but said tickets would once again be issued in the days following the event.

“Don’t mistake that for a lack of enforcement,” he said, adding police and peace officers also want to keep themselves and their families safe.

Even so, at this time of year, police “would rather be handing out candy canes than tickets.”

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