LONDON, ONT -- The City of London issued 21 Provincial Offence Notices over the weekend to Londoners ignoring social distancing rules - with a minimum fine of $750.

The province has ordered all non-essential businesses to close, while the city has closed all outdoor play structures including playgrounds, skate parks and multi-use courts, sports fields, community gardens, off-leash dog parks and golf courses.

“We had every officer available, proactively and in response to the COVID-19 concern line addressing those,” says Orest Katolyk, head of bylaw enforcement with the city.

“This is very common sense, they are off bounds, there is tape around them, there’s signs up there, what part of this aren’t you getting?”

Thanks to the help of the city’s recently created tip line and regular patrolling of closed outdoor areas, city officials were able to issue their first fines over the weekend.

Failure to comply with an emergency order can carry punishments up to a year in jail or a fine up to $100,000 for an individual.

The move to introduce fines was not an easy one, but one London’s mayor says is necessary.

“It became really clear to us, the time for education, is never really over, but the time to make the point for those not prepared to listen had to begin. And if people aren’t prepared to listen, then perhaps their bank account might” says Ed Holder.

Parks, green space, trails and pathways remain open for walk-through only. For anyone who chooses to use these spaces, the City is asking for full and continued cooperation in following all of the precautions identified by the Middlesex London Health Unit including:

  • Stay six feet away from each other (physical distancing)
  • Avoid all non-essential gatherings of any size
  • Stay home from work and other activities if you are sick
  • Self-isolate if you have travelled outside of Canada
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or cough and sleeve into your elbow
  • Clean and disinfect high touch areas frequently