Guelph mayor warns residents to take social-distancing orders seriously amid COVID-19 pandemic

WATCH: Several Guelph police officers showed their support for health-care workers with a round of applause and a blast of the sirens from their cruisers outside of Guelph General Hospital.

Guelph, Ont., Mayor Cam Guthrie says following the rules that have been put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic is “literally a matter of life or death.”

The mayor issued a stern statement on Tuesday and said everyone in the community needs to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

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He urged residents to follow the advice of Guelph’s medical officer of health, noting:

  • Non-essential businesses must close.
  • Residents should only go out for essential items like groceries and medication.
  • Residents should not gather in groups in parks or on trails.
  • Residents should stay at least two metres apart from anyone they don’t live with.
  • If people don’t absolutely need to leave their house, they stay home.

“I’m disappointed to hear that some people aren’t taking these public health orders seriously,” Guthrie said. “To those individuals, let me absolutely clear: enough is enough.”

He also warned residents that Guelph police and bylaw officers have the authority to enforce the rules by writing tickets and issuing fines, saying they won’t hesitate to do so.

Fines range from $750 for gathering in a group or playing on a closed sports field up to $1,000 for obstructing an enforcement officer.

Bylaw officers can also issue a summons for failure to comply with an emergency order, with fines up to $100,000 for an individual and $10 million for a corporation.

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“Now is the time to buckle down, stay home and flatten the curve,” Guthrie said. “The health of our entire community depends on it.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Guelph reported 51 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and one death.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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