Sharp uptick in COVID-19 violations as Albertans continue to defy health orders

CALGARY —  The City of Calgary issued dozens of tickets last week as businesses and individuals ignored public health advice.

The City says it has now handed out 167 tickets under the Public Health Act (PHA) since Calgary’s state of emergency was declared on Nov. 24, 2020.

Of those violation tickets, 56 have been issued since Jan.6.

The City says it has also issued 113 violation tickets to those not following the local face covering bylaw. That bylaw passed through City Hall this summer and was implemented on Aug.1 2020.

15 of those mask-related violations have been issued over the last seven days.

One ticket was given for failure to display prescribed signage in an entryway of a public indoor space.

The city says there is a significant increase in PHA tickets due to a large number of infractions issued by Calgary police following “protests in December.” That line likely refers to anti-lockdown marches that have been taking place in the downtown core every weekend for months.

Bylaw officers have only issued one ticket related to a protest, but say 19 concerns “remain under investigation.”

Five warning tickets were given regarding mass gatherings.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi discussed his displeasure with the stats at a media availability on Thursday afternoon.

“Public health orders are the law,” Nenshi said. “You can’t just break the law because you don’t like it. It doesn’t matter what you saw in a YouTube video.”

One Calgary church is currently under fire for disregarding multiple provincial restrictions on multiple occasions.

Fairview Baptist Church was issued another ticket this week, and the city says more fines are pending. Officers will be keeping a close eye on the church as the weekend approaches. 

Elsewhere in the local enforcement update, the city’s business license inspectors say they will be continuing to conduct regular check-ups. Three PHA tickets have been handed out, and 12 additional concerns are currently under investigation.

Calgary residents or businesses may submit questions, concerns or reports complaints to Alberta Health Services online or by calling 1-833-415-9179, or to the city by contacting 311. The Calgary police non-emergency line also accepts tips to 403-266-1234.

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