DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative, for The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog is looking for residents, and visitors to the municipality, to follow physical distancing restrictions. At a meeting on Monday, May 4th, Township CAO Paul Allore provided council with an update on the COVID-19 situation, including how people have been reacting to the distancing restrictions in Scugog. “Public health officials report the disregard for physical distancing is the reason for the continued community spread. Just want to remind everyone that we need to do better in this regard. Maintain at least six-feet distance from anyone you interact with,” Mr. Allore implored. Though the CAO explained interactions between bylaw officers and residents or visitors have been mainly positive. “Overall, I’m pleased to report that generally bylaw service [personnel] do report cooperation and compliance from the public with respect to emergency orders issued by the province. They report approximately 40 COVID-19 complaints that have been received in the bylaw area.” Though, there are still some issues in Scugog to address regarding COVID-19 rules. “We are still continuing to receive complaints about inadequate physical separation of employees and patrons, and too many people being allowed inside a Scugog business,” Mr. Allore said. “Our bylaw officers are working with [Durham Regional Police] to resolve this matter with the business management.” Scugog’s bylaw department and Durham police officers (DRPS) patrolled around the Port Perry waterfront area over the weekend. “Education and persuasion is being utilized to avoid people congregating in groups, and those affected are directed to keep appropriate physical distancing,” the CAO stated. Township staff reported DRPS being called to Palmer Park several times to move people along. “DRPS did ask our staff to apply caution tape to the park benches to stop people from gathering, and that tape was applied. I’m told that’s had a positive effect,” Mr. Allore told Councillors. The CAO mentioned the Township has been working with the Tim Hortons/Wendy’s restaurant in Port Perry to keep motorcyclists from congregating in the parking lot. Though cautious to use it, Mr. Allore mentioned a possible option for council if the public continues to disregard the rules. “Council may wish to consider passing a bylaw to enforce the physical distancing directive of the province. A bylaw does need to be passed in order to do that, however there are some pros and cons to passing such a bylaw. I think we’ll be monitoring the situation over the next week or so, and may give some thought to this in the future, if we continue to get non-compliance.” When asked by Ward 1 Councillor Ian McDougall if the Durham police have the authority to enforce the provincial orders, Mr. Allore said they do, but “have been reluctant to do that.” “They are trying their best to use verbal persuasion and education, and only after complete disregard have they laid charges,” he explained.