COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

General information

Common questions being asked of Township staff 

What is the role of compliance and enforcement officers? Is it similar to the role of bylaw officers?

Local bylaw and other compliance officers can provide enforcement assistance for the Public Health Officer’s (PHO) orders by:

  • monitoring facilities and areas closed to the public by a public health order;
  • providing warnings, information and advice to businesses and members of the public about public health orders, including warnings to businesses and members of the public who may be acting in contravention of a public health order; and
  • providing information on potential contraventions of a public health order for follow-up by health authorities.
  • actively enforcing EPA orders and issuing $2,000 violation tickets for infractions throughout the COVID-19 state of emergency, focusing on the Province’s ban on reselling essential goods and supplies and price gouging.

Bylaw enforcement officers do not have the ability to detain an individual as a result of a contravention or suspected contravention of a public health order, or issue a fine or penalty, including an administrative penalty, under the Public Health Act.

Compliance officers will provide public health agencies with recommendations and advice on whether further action is necessary. Any enforcement will be at the direction of the PHO or local medical health officer.

Public concerns regarding compliance with the PHO’s orders should be directed to local governments, who can dispatch bylaw officers for follow-up. 

I see a business that shouldn’t be open or is demonstrating poor physical distancing practices. Who do I call?

Bylaw officers have been empowered with assisting Provincial compliance officers with ensuring businesses respect the health orders and directions. They can be reached Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except statutory holidays)

Why do I see outdoor markets open?

Outdoor markets have been deemed to be essential by the provincial health authorities; however they are only permitted to sell food. They, like grocery stores and other retail environments, need to respect current health guidelines.

What about parties, groups and other concerns about physical distancing?

It’s important to clarify that while physical distancing (remaining 2m apart and not gathering in small groups) is paramount from a community health perspective, law enforcement and bylaw officers have limited powers to ensure compliance at this time. Rather, the expectation is that citizens follow the instructions for appropriate, safe behaviour as directed by the Provincial Health Officer. Bylaw and Police are taking a proactive approach and speaking to those not following the Health Officer’s medical advice on a case-by-case basis.

  • Residents can report non-medical related COVID-19 concerns to the Province by calling 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
  • For large, loud gatherings which occur outside of Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., call the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.

What if someone refuses to move away from me in a public area?

Physical distancing rules, while not enforceable, are strongly directed by the Provincial Health Officer. This is a matter of good civic behavior and the expectation is that people treat each other respectfully. If you feel that this is an emergency and you are in immediate threat of physical harm, call 9-1-1.

I thought we are told to say home but I see people outside. What should I do?

Staying home as much as possible is strongly encouraged. However, outdoor activities and exercise are important factors in our physical and mental health, so when people go outside, they are asked to  follow current health advice. Our Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, explains in this short video.

My neighbour returned from a trip and should be self-isolating but isn’t

Quarantine Act violations: everyone arriving from outside of Canada is required to quarantine for 14 days. Police are following up on these complaints.

If you have information that someone isn’t following quarantine after arriving in Canada, call the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.

 


See our COVID-19 updates at esquimalt.ca/covid19