Security company would enforce proposed bylaw to limit gatherings in Saskatoon: report
Saskatoon’s proposed COVID-19 gathering restrictions bylaw would cost about $32,400 to enforce, according to an administration report.
That enforcement would need to be provided through a contracted security company, as city staff who provide services related to inspection and enforcement of bylaws already have a demand that exceeds capacity for bylaw compliance and don’t have the required training, the report says.
City Council had directed administration to draft a bylaw at its Monday meeting after the province rejected its request for local restrictions to fight the spread of COVID-19 and protect the healthcare system.
The report suggests the public could file online or phone complaints regarding infractions, and the city would then dispatch the contracted company.
The cost for enforcement would depend on the desired response level; the $32,400 estimate is based on three officers being available 12 hours per day.
The bylaw would:
- Prohibit the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated from gathering in private dwellings beyond their own household.
- Permit fully vaccinated households to socialize with up to one other fully vaccinated household including children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
- Reduce private gathering sizes in public venues such as weddings and funerals to 25 per cent capacity, with no indoor dining, where required proof of vaccination is not required for the event. If proof of vaccination is required, these restrictions would not apply.
- Reduce gathering sizes at places of worship to 25 per cent capacity or a maximum of 150 people, whichever is less, where proof of vaccination is not required. If proof of vaccination is required, these restrictions would not apply.
Infractions for individuals carry a $250 fine for a first offense, $500 for a second and $750 for a third, up to a maximum of $2,000.
Corporations would face a maximum fine of $10,000.
Council is to consider the bylaw at a special meeting on Friday.
The proposed bylaw drew some criticism from residents, included in written submissions to council.
“It is unfortunate that the city is going to create another bylaw that will have absolutely no practical effect in confronting the issue at hand,” Ari Avivi said.
“It is an overreach of council’s authority to enact public health orders. This is a provincial responsibility. Our city needs you to spend your time and our money on things that are within your jurisdiction,” wrote Deloise McKnight.
Added Jill Willick: “I'm writing as a concerned and frustrated citizen of Saskatoon. I certainly understand what the city is trying to do, but I don't think these restrictions are logical and I don't believe that they will be effective."
On Monday, Clark told council a city bylaw is “worth trying” even though it’s an “imperfect solution.”
“It's an extraordinary situation, where our city council is having health officers coming forth and laying out how urgent the situation is, identifying a mechanism that has been identified through all of their modeling and planning, which is restricting private gatherings which can help mitigate the very, very urgent situation that we're seeing in our healthcare system.”