Six people have been fined for violating self-isolation and travel restrictions in the Northwest Territories in recent weeks.
According to a Wednesday evening update from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer, pandemic enforcement officials issued fines of $1,725 to three NWT residents and three non-residents between June 25 and July 13.
In the first case, a non-NWT resident was fined for failing to self-isolate in a designated isolation hub – Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, and Inuvik.
On July 3, another non-NWT resident was fined for travelling in the territory without an exemption after entering on foot at an unauthorized entry point. (Where is not clear.)
On July 6, an NWT resident was fined for failing to submit a self-isolation plan after returning to the territory from Alberta. According to the government, they had travelled between the province and the NWT multiple times and received warnings for not submitting plans for previous trips before they were ticketed.
The following day, two more residents were fined for not submitting self-isolation plans after passing the NWT-BC border gate on Highway 7 without permission.
Finally, on July 13, a resident was fined for failing to self-isolate.
The government says three of those fines were issued in the Dehcho region, two in the South Slave, and one in the North Slave. They did not provide further details on the locations or the identity of those fined to “prevent undue stigma and public shaming due to the comparatively low number of charges.”
These six cases are not the first time someone has been ticketed for failing to follow pandemic restrictions in the territory. On June 10, an Alberta resident was fined $1,725 after the government said they drove past the checkstop on Highway 1 at a high speed.
“While education, outreach, and warnings will always be our preferred method of gaining compliance, tickets and charges may be necessary to enforce the right behaviours,” the government stated in its recent update.
Members of the territory’s pandemic enforcement task force have a number of means at their disposal to ensure compliance with the territory’s pandemic rules.
They can issue verbal and written warnings, tickets of up to $1,500 – plus $225 in victim surcharge fees – and a court summons which can result in a maximum fine of $10,000. They can even apprehend and detain people if there’s a “significant and imminent risk to public health.”
To date, the task force has investigated 1,740 complaints of non-compliance with pandemic rules across the territory and issued 151 verbal and written warnings.
According to the territory’s latest numbers, 1189 people are currently self-isolating in the NWT.