Maritime police will be enforcing physical distancing guidelines this weekend
HALIFAX -- The premiers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are promising tougher action if people don't practise physical distancing during what's forecast to be a fair spring weekend.
Police are asking that citizens not test the boundaries, but say they will be enforcing the law on those who do.
Greg Auld lives near Point Pleasant Park in Halifax and says the signs and chains blocking the entry are new.
The message is crystal clear: outdoor public multi-person gatherings are not allowed and parks are off limits.
"Well, I think they're tough, but having said that, I think they're necessary," Auld said.
People are being told to stay home and the rules have been laid down -- firmly.
"Law enforcement will be out in force this weekend," Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said. He said they'll be making sure that people ae adhering to physical distancing guidelines and not gathering in groups of more than five people.
The Mounties are approaching enforcement with patience and discretion. They're trying to educate the public about strict rules when it comes to outdoor activities, said Nova Scotia RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.
"In a case where someone is clearly violating the rules that are set by the government, enforcement is an option for us," Clarke said.
Enforcement options include issuing a ticket and possibly even arrest.
It's a similar situation in New Brunswick. Both the RCMP and Fredericton police say they are getting lots of complaints that people are not adhering to the state of emergency. Police say they will use this opportunity heading into the week to use this time to encourage and promote compliance with the steps outlined to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Clarke says most people are obeying physical-distancing rules.
"We're sensing a lot of people are afraid of what's happening," Clarke said.
Clarke says they'll continue to educate those who are not and, if needed, use legal enforcement to ensure public safety.