P.E.I. imposes stiff fines for people who don't follow self-isolation rules
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, provides an update on COVID-19 during a news conference on March 23, 2020.
HALIFAX -- The Prince Edward Island government says it will enforce "stronger measures" to contain the spread of COVID-19.
"Cabinet empowered the chief public health officer to issue orders under the Public Health Act as needed, including fines to anyone who is not complying with the direction to self-isolate," the P.E.I. government said in a news release Monday afternoon.
The measures are similar to those implemented in other provinces.
The number of confirmed cases remains at three for the second day in a row.
"These decisions aren't made lightly and should signal to Islanders the seriousness of what's before us with COVID-19," Premier Dennis King said in the release. "It is our collective responsibility to do our part, whether that is self-isolating, practising social distancing, or offering a helping hand to those in need. We are at a crucial point in the COVID-19 situation and the decisions we make now will help us in the long run."
The penalties for Islanders who do not comply include:
- a fine of $1,000 for a first offence;
- a fine of $2,000 for a second offence; or,
- a fine of $10,000 for a third offence and every offence after that.
Islanders returning to Prince Edward Island from domestic or international travel must self-isolate for 14 days. Exceptions are being made for essential workers, including truck drivers, airline crews, essential public and private sector workers in critical sectors, as well as on compassionate grounds.
Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says new screening measures have been put in place at all entry points into the province. She also said the new enforcement measures are in response to reports that some people who are supposed to be in self-isolation are stopping for groceries or visiting neighbours.
"This is a significant adjustment for all of us and while people are understandably anxious about these changes, they ae necessary changes to protect our community," Morrison said in the release.
Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson said it was important for Islanders to pay attention to Morrison's "expert advice" in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"It is important that we do what we can with the resources available to us to support her efforts to keep Islanders safe," Thompson said. "The time to act is now and our individual actions will have a direct impact on how sucessful we are in protecting the health and safety of everyone."
The number of confirmed cases on P.E.I. remains at three.
Islanders with concerns about people they know not following the self-isolation directive can contact P.E.I.'s toll-free COVID-19 information line at 1-800-958-6400.
For more information on self-isolation, please go to the the province's website.