Sarnia police won’t make random stops to enforce pandemic rules

Sarnia Police cruiser outside police headquarters. March 2019. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

Sarnia police say they have no intention of randomly stopping vehicles or pedestrians to enforce stricter pandemic regulations.

The service issued a news release Saturday in response to the provincial government’s announcement Friday afternoon that an extended stay-at-home order, and enhanced restrictions will be enforced through expanded police powers.

“The Sarnia Police Service will continue in its efforts to educate and warn the public regarding measures that have been regulated by the provincial government to ensure the health and safety of the community,” the statement read. “Ultimately, enforcement may be required when all other measures have failed and violations under the Reopening Act of Ontario and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) continue to exist.”

“At this time, the Sarnia Police Service has no intention of randomly stopping pedestrians or motor vehicles in relation to these Acts but rather will continue its enforcement based on either observed violations or complaints that have been generated by the public.”

The police service said it truly understands the frustration that the virus and the pandemic measures are causing but also realizes it is the responsibility of everyone in the community to ensure the safety and wellbeing of others.

“Our intention is to use any authority granted in a measured and fair approach with education and warnings as our primary goal. Enforcement will be implemented when all else fails.”

The police service said it will continue to keep the community updated as the new regulations unfold.

On Saturday, the provinceĀ amendedĀ the COVID-19 measure that allowed police to make random checks.

Initially, Premier Doug Ford said that police would have the authority to stop cars and people in the street to ask why they are not at home and ask for their address. The province said a ticket upwards of $750 could have been issued for those who refuse to answer.