City steps up enforcement of public health bylaws

CALGARY — The City of Calgary is stepping up its enforcement of bylaws and public health orders.

In an update sent to the media Thursday, the city announced that it has issued 40 violation tickets for failure to wear a face covering where required since the temporary COVID-19 face coverings bylaw came into effect Aug. 1.

Of those tickets, eight have been issued in the last week.

Additionally, one ticket has been issued for failure to display prescribed signage in an entryway of a public indoor space since the bylaw was introduced Aug. 1.

25 violation tickets have been issued under the Public Health Act (PHA) since a state of local emergency was declared on Nov. 25, 2020, 11 of those issued since Dec. 9. That includes two tickets issued to a church after evidence connected to a religious gathering was reviewed, along with an additional ticket for failure to display prescribed signage.

Three tickets were issued to protesters, and the CIty added that two more will be served, along with other bylaw-related infraction tickets arising from events held over the weekend.

Enforcement group

The City has formed an enforcement group called the Public Health Compliance Team (PHCT) to “monitor compliance, address concerns and support measures that help protect Calgarians,” according to the release.

That means the PHCT will be conducting weekly inspections of non-essential businesses, with the possibility that businesses found not following the Public Health Act could face “multiple fines and the possibility of suspension or revocation of their business license,” in addition to the fines.

Over the past week, the PHCT determined that four locations were found “not adhering to public health orders.” Three were issued warnings and one was given a ticket.

Retail and public indoor spaces are currently limited to 15 per cent of their fire code capacity.

Chinook Mall

“The vast majority of businesses are adhering to the Public Health Act,” said Ryan Pleckaitis, the chief bylaw officer for Calgary Community Standards.

“We have heard some concerns about overcrowding in larger retail facilities, such as shopping malls and want to reassure Calgarians that we review all concerns in a timely manner, and will continue to respond to capacity issues heard via 311.”

Calgary residents or businesses may submit questions, concerns or report complaints to Alberta Health Services online or by calling 1-833-415-9179, to the City by contacting 311 or the Calgary police by calling their non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

For more information, go to Calgary.ca/covid19

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