Winnipeg bylaw officers ticket 2nd skateboarder for violating physical distancing rules

By | May 5, 2020

A man who broke physical distancing rules at a Winnipeg skate park is the second person to be ticketed for breaking a city health order.

During the City of Winnipeg’s COVID-19 update on Tuesday, emergency operations manager Jason Shaw said the man was given the ticket for ignoring the physical distancing rules at Sargent Park skate park on April 29.

Shaw said at around 8 p.m., officers confronted a group of approximately 10 people using the skate park.

A provincial public health order limits gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.

As well, a city regulation is in place that requires two metres separation in parks and open spaces.

In addition, the skate park was still closed last week as part of city-wide COVID-19 shutdowns, so officers asked the skaters to leave.

All complied with the request, except the man who was ticketed.

He refused to leave when asked and became “aggressive and defiant,” Shaw said, adding he came within about a metre of an officer and would not identify himself.

Eventually he left the park. The Winnipeg Police Service confirmed the man’s identity, and city bylaw officers then went to his house to ticket him.

Shaw said the man has been charged, and could be facing a penalty of up to $1,000 or six months in jail for violating the city order.

“Let’s be honest here, 99.9 per cent of folks are listening,” Shaw said, noting most are polite when asked to comply with distancing rules.

“This individual wasn’t, and this individual chose to … continue skating and [was] not listening and not heeding the advice of the bylaw officers.”

Skaters and bikers enjoyed Sargent Park skate park on Day 2 of reopening for business and play during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The man is the second skateboarder to be sanctioned for violating the city’s physical distancing rules. Last week, a male was ticketed at Varsity View Sportsplex in Charleswood.

Shaw said the city will continue to monitor and enforce the rules at city parks. All other enforcement issues should be directed to the province.

In total, officers have given 40 verbal warnings and had 642 “positive interactions” around enforcement of the city’s rules, according to Mayor Brian Bowman. He hopes Winnipeggers will continue to respect the orders.

“Obviously where penalties have to be provided, it’s entirely appropriate. We don’t want to see incidents like this continue,” he said at Tuesday’s news conference.

More active transportation routes open

Tuesday was Day 2 of loosened restrictions in the province, with the public now allowed to return to some city-run facilities and recreational areas.

Bowman asked Winnipeggers who plan to use facilities like skate parks, playgrounds, basketball or tennis courts, and athletic field to observe the rules, by practising physical distancing and not congregating in groups of 10 or more.

“I know it’s taking a lot of vigilance and patience,” he said. “We need to continue to do our part. We don’t want to risk undoing the good work.”

Five more temporary active transit routes also opened Tuesday, he said, which brings the total to nine.

Cyclists ride on a road where motor vehicle travel has been limited in Winnipeg. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Until May 29, motor vehicle traffic can only travel for one block from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily on these city streets:

  • Lyndale Drive between Cromwell and Gauvin streets.
  • Scotia Street between Anderson and Armstrong avenues.
  • Wellington Crescent between Academy Road and Guelph Street.
  • Wolseley Avenue between Raglan Road and Maryland Street.
  • Assiniboine Avenue from Bedson Street to Westwood Drive.
  • Churchill Drive from Hay Street to Jubilee Avenue.
  • Egerton Road from Bank Avenue to Morier Avenue.
  • Kildonan Drive from Helmsdale Avenue to Rossmere Crescent, and from Larchdale Crescent to Irving Place.
  • Kilkenny Drive from Burgess Avenue to Patricia Avenue and Kings Drive.

At the end of the month, city officials will reassess the temporary traffic restrictions.

A barricade set up on a temporary active transit route in Winnipeg. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The city has also started accepting applications from restaurants that want to open a temporary patio. While indoor dining rooms in Manitoba must remain closed for now, restaurants are now allowed to serve customers on patios.

Shaw said seven temporary patio applications were processed over the weekend. He did not say where those patios will be located.

Three city-operated golf courses — Kildonan Park, Crescent Drive and Harbour View — opened Monday. A fourth course, Windsor Park, is expected to open on Wednesday, Shaw said.

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