Waterloo Region, Guelph adjust to changing provincial restrictions
KITCHENER -- What are residents in Waterloo Region, Guelph, and across Ontario allowed to do now?
Following the walk back of additional stay-at-home orders on Saturday, less than 24 hours after they were announced, some are seeking clarity on what they and the police are allowed to do.
In a statement from Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, she writes that police can now only stop people they believe are involved in a public event or social gathering.
“Essentially it gives police and bylaw the authority to just stop vehicles when they have reasonable suspicion that the occupants may be violating the stay-at-home order,” said Scott Tracey of Guelph Police Service.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) says they are halting legal action on the province, but still watching closely.
“We continue to be concerned of how law enforcement is exercising their power in their discretion and particularly the impact on racialized community members,” said Abby Deshman with the CCLA.
The province has also backtracked on closing playgrounds, which are now allowed to be open. Officials say some equipment may still be taped off, but staff will be out in the community removing it soon.
“Adults can go out for essential exercise, like walking or jogging, but kids don’t exercise, kids need to play,” said Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky. “I’m proud that the province has opened up playgrounds again.”
Other outdoor recreational amenities that remain closed include golf course, basketball courts, and soccer fields.
Outdoor social gatherings are limited to households only, non-essential construction workplaces were order to close on Saturday, and all retail has been capped at 25 per cent where in-store shopping is allowed.
“If we want people to stay home, we need to provide them with the safety net to do so,” said Teneile Warren with Reallocate Waterloo Region. “We know that essential workers are people more likely to live in overcrowded housing, most likely to risk going to work sick because they don’t have paid protection.”
New restrictions going into effect on Monday include capping weddings, funerals, and religious services to 10 people indoors and outdoors. No social gatherings related to these, such as receptions, are allowed with people of different households.