Reacting to complaints from community members about vehicles stunting, loud parties at various locations and groups of youth parking their vehicles in large gatherings, Lac La Biche's municipal peace officers have been combining the community's own bylaws with some COVID commons sense.
But those results have raised a few local concerns that peace officers are forcing people from the streets.
That's not the case, says the municipality's manager of enforcement services.
"As we are all aware Alberta Health Services has made several requests for the public to socially distance from others. We have clearly seen that this isn’t happening. So our officers have been reminding youth that they should be adhering to the recommendations and not in larger groups," Sgt. Chris Clark told the POST on Wednesday night.
Clark says there are no new bylaws in place, noting that the municipality does enforce a curfew — but it is only for children 12 years of age and under who are found outdoors between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am.
"Our officers have been receiving increased complaints over the last week of vehicles stunting, youth taking part in parties at some locations and youth parking a various locations around town who are littering and playing loud music," he said. "There is no new bylaw."
Teens says he was stopped
Two separate parents commented on a social media page last Wednesday, noting that their teenage children were told by peace officers that due to the need to have people stay at home during the COVID pandemic, they could face a fine if they were caught outside again.
Clark says there are currently no bylaw or fines in place to restrict individuals from traveling in the community — but added that provincial policy makers could put more severe restrictions into place as the pandemic takes its course.
"For fines, there is none under the Public Health Act for this type of behavior unless the group is larger than 50 people, are exhibiting signs of being sick, have tested positive for COVID-19 or are associating and not isolating after being around someone who has tested positive or is a presumptive case," Clark told the POST, adding that more information on government-imposed restrictions are expected in the coming days.
Total curfew in Wabasca
In communities like Wabasca, residents are currently under an 8 pm curfew, and face a $500 fine if they are found off their property. Their municipal leaders have also recently implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any resident who returns after travel anywhere outside of their community.
Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID 19 in the Lac La Biche, Athabasca or Wood Buffalo Regions. Westlock recorded its first confirmed case today, and there are currently three confirmed cases in Bonnyville and one in the Cold Lake region. For a link to an interactive map and updated data on the COVID crisis go to www.LakelandToday.ca