New pandemic restrictions imposed by Canada’s most populous province immediately ran into opposition on Saturday as police departments insisted they wouldn’t use new powers to randomly stop motorists and health experts complained the rules focus on outdoor activities rather than more dangerous indoor settings.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government announced Friday it was giving police authority to require anyone not at home to explain why they’re out and provide their address. Tickets can be written.
But at least a dozen forces throughout Ontario, including in the capital of Toronto, said there will be no random stops of people or cars.
“We are all going through a horrific year of COVID-19 and all associated with it together. The (department) will NOT be randomly stopping vehicles for no reason during the pandemic or afterwards,” Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner tweeted.
The new rules limit outdoor gatherings to those in the same household and close playgrounds and golf courses. The decisions sparked widespread criticism in a province already on lockdown. Restaurants and gyms are closed as is in-class schooling. Most nonessential workers are working from home.