Barrie Police expecting to enforce more than educate during stay-at-home lockdown, but only where needed

South Simcoe Police will also step up enforcement as needed

With a new stay-at-home order in effect, some folks are airing concerns it gives police the ability to stop and arrest anyone at will, leaving us in a so-called police state. The Barrie Police Service might be stepping up enforcement, but only where necessary.

Barrie Police spokesperson Peter Leon says officers are there to work with the public, and so long as we all work hard to follow the rules, there shouldn’t be any problems. “The message from the Premier at Queen’s Park has been very clear,” Leon told Barrie 360. “They’re asking people to stay at home, and anything that is non-essential, to refrain from doing it.”

“It’s about limiting your footprint beyond your home, and that’s what we’re asking people to do,” added Leon. “As it says on our cars, ‘committed to our community,’ and that’s what we are; we want to see a healthy, happy and vibrant Barrie, we don’t want to see anybody falling victim to this horrible virus that has taken so many lives already.”

Leon says the service will maintain its focus on enlightening the public on the rules, but will more easily resort to ticketing if that fails. “During this whole COVID-19 pandemic, we have been tasked with dealing with situations involving crowd size and whatnot as well. So, we have always taken an approach of, where we can, to provide education first and foremost, and there may be the need for enforcement,” he said. “Obviously, with the new stay at home order, the Barrie Police will have to probably look to increasing enforcement.”

“We want to see this pandemic be nothing more than a memory. But I think we all have to work together in order to ensure that.”

The South Simcoe Police Service will take similar action throughout the 28-day stay-at-home order, according to Police Chief “We will be doing our part to encourage people to stay home but are prepared to take enforcement action for those who do not follow the guidelines,” Fletcher said in an emailed statement.

As per the South Simcoe Police, here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

· Employers are not required to provide essential workers with a letter to keep in their vehicles to prove they are travelling to work.
· The legislation does not allow for random vehicle stops to enforce the emergency order.
· Outdoor recreational amenities permitted to be open, subject to conditions, including parks, playgrounds and recreational areas, tobogganing hills, skating trails, ice rinks, snowmobile and cross-country and ice fishing huts with immediate family members only and no overnight use.
· Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of 5 people with limited exceptions.
· People are required to wear a mask or face-covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
· Short term rentals are only to be provided to individuals who are in need of housing.