A couple from the Cowichan Valley who have recently returned from overseas refuse to self-isolate for 14 days, as is required by law.
Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, said the municipality had received a number of complaints about the couple, who remain unidentified at this time.
He said part of the job of North Cowichan, and all municipalities in B.C., is to provide information to people returning to the country about the new self-isolation rules.
Under the provincial state of emergency, it is the responsibility of by-law enforcement to ensure provincial orders are being met, but they cannot actually ticket anyone.
“We sent bylaw officers to the couple’s home to drop off the information, but the officers said there was no indication that the couple intend to comply by the time they left,” Drakeley said.
“We sent the information to the public health office in Nanaimo.”
Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act on March 25 that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.
The order was fully implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency at points of entry as of midnight on March 25.
“The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order,” a press release said.
“Failure to comply with this order is an offense under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.”
The Quarantine Act also stipulates that a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening the Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1 million, or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both.
“Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance,” the press release said.
“There can be no ambiguity about this fact,” Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters during a daily health briefing on Wednesday (April 1).
“It would be, I think, a real betrayal of the people in your community to not follow those rules.”