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P.E.I. to issue heavy fines for refusal to self-isolate

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 @ 4:24 PM | By Terry Davidson

In a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, Prince Edward Island will start handing out fines as high as $10,000 to those who fail to self-isolate after being instructed to do so — particularly when it comes to returning travellers.

The province has also established a snitch-line for those “with concerns about people they know [are] not following” directions to self-isolate.  

On March 23, P.E.I.’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued orders under the province’s Public Health Act that would have fines given to anyone who does not comply with instructions to self-isolate.

Islanders returning to P.E.I. from either domestic or international travel are required to self-isolate for 14 days, with the exception of truckers, airline crews and those considered belonging to essential sectors.

A government press release notes new screening processes are in place at all entry points into the province.

A spokesperson confirmed that the fines would apply not just to travellers, but anyone who does not obey an order to self-isolate, including individual business owners.  

The fines would be $1,000 for a first offence, $2,000 for a second and $10,000 for a third offence and any subsequent to that.

There is also a number for people who suspect others of not following the new rules.

“Islanders with concerns about people they know not following the self-isolation directive can contact the toll-free COVID-19 information line at 1-800-958-6400,” states the release.

In mid-March, a public health emergency was declared.

As of March 24, P.E.I. had three positive cases of COVID-19.

On March 22, Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency, which includes the issuing of $1,000 fines to individuals who refuse to practise social distancing and self-isolation. Part of the emergency measures prohibits gatherings of more than five people.