In an email to The Sault Star last week Chief Hugh Stevenson said the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service was taking a “gradual approach” to the issue of people gathering in groups of more than five, which puts them at odds with an emergency decree by the provincial government.
The chief said the service had received 34 calls about groups meeting and officers had given warnings to nine people at four of those calls.
He said charges would follow “if this behaviour continues.”
I don’t have any problem with the gradual approach to following the Ontario government’s order issued March 28 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that bars organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people.
But I don’t think the message will sink in for a lot of people until there are some announcements of fines being levied.
The minimum fine for violating the order is $750.
There is a portion of the public who haven’t been taking the COVID-19 coronavirus seriously and I think it will take reading or hearing about a few of these sizeable fines being issued to get their attention and ultimately adherence.
Actually it is reassuring to see that some residents are not hesitant to call the police service when they see the five-person limit being ignored. If there ever is a time for whistle blowers, I firmly believe this is it.
Stevenson said calls for service have been “rather steady” since residents were urged to stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19 and police are taking “an all hands on deck” stance on monitoring the city.
Good to know and good to see.
PREMIER DOUG FORD has gotten some good marks from some areas of the public for his handling of the COVID-19 issue, but I can’t see him getting any from corrections officers.
And with good reason.
Apparently corrections officers in some provincial jails are not being allowed to wear protective gear amid the spread of COVID-19.
Some of them, according to a Canadian Press story, eventually got the protection after they refused to work without it.
It should never have come to this.
Jails are becoming hot spots for the virus and every effort should be made to protect both corrections officers and inmates.
Some institutions allow guards to wear surgical masks and gloves while others don’t, said Chris Jackel, a spokesman for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Last week, guards at Monteith Correctional Complex near Timmins, Ont., refused to work after they asked, but weren’t allowed, to wear the protective equipment near an inmate who started showing symptoms of COVID-19, said Jackel.
“Then the (inmate’s) test results come in positive and they say, sure, you can wear PPE (personal protective equipment),” Jackel said. “It’s so ridiculous, we don’t understand.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Solicitor General said jails across the province have access to protective equipment, adding that the health of its workers and inmates is a “top priority.”
“The ministry is currently working with bargaining partners to address outstanding matters, such as the use of personal masks,” said Kristy Denette.
There should be no “working with bargaining partners” to address issues such as the use of personal masks.
It simply should be done for the safety of all involved..
Get on with it.
MEANWHILE, SOUTH OF THE border a battle is going on in with some church groups arguing that, because of the separation of church and state, they don’t have to follow government orders that they no longer congregate.
The see it as “the slippery slope” of government getting involved in church business.
What a crock.
This has nothing to do with government involvement in the church. It has everything to do with fighting a pandemic.
In such situations churches must follow the rules laid down for us all.
Heck, even President Donald Trump recognizes the need for the cancellation of church services. If he can get that through his thick head, everyone should be able to.
I note stories are beginning to appear in the U.S. about some Republicans beginning to worry about what the president says during his lead-in to the coronavirus task force’s daily briefings with the media.
They should be.
He gives a lot of misinformation, which has to be corrected by the doctors present, and spends much of his time belittling many of the reporters present and anyone who has opposed him in any way.
As well, of course, he speaks as if he has never spent a day in school, let alone apparently having graduated from a university.
I can’t imagine any university claiming him as a graduate.
I take heart that no one in this country with an IQ over 10 seems to have anything favourable to say about him.
Because of Trump the United States was late getting into the fight against the virus, bringing back memories of its late entry into the First and Second World Wars.
But most governors have made up for the shortfall, making sure that social distancing and self-isolation are in place and working.
In Michigan, for instance, it is now against the law to even visit a neighbour.
In Kentucky police are taking down the licence plate numbers of those who still insist on attending church services.
If it takes such tough measures to get the job done, I am all for them.
And if you think I was being tough on Trump in this column, you would be right. I just thought for a change that I would be as ignorant to him as he is to others.