While exercising outdoors is a permitted and encouraged activity under the Ontario Stay-At-Home Order currently in effect, sitting or sunbathing doesn’t count as exercise, say Kingston Police.
“Kingston Police want to remind the population that there is currently a government-mandated Stay-At-Home order, where people should not leave their residences unless necessary and under specific exemptions. While this does include exercise for physical and mental health Kingston Police want visitors at permitted recreational amenities, including parks, to treat them as a walk-through or a thoroughfare rather than a destination, so as to avoid the surge in numbers that have recently been observed, causing concern for public health and safety with the ongoing pandemic. Kingston Police will not be treating sedentary activities, such as sitting or sunbathing while in parks and other recreational amenities, as exercise, and therefore these activities are not an exemption to the Stay-at-Home order,” said Kingston Police in a statement.
The statement comes after several hundred residents were observed congregating in close proximity at Breakwater Park on Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021.
The following day, the City of Kingston decided to expand the Emergency Order to include the closure of Breakwater Park.
Kingston Police say they were on scene on Thursday, but found enforcement difficult, owing to the changing nature of the crowd. “Both police and bylaw enforcement officers attended the park at multiple times on April 8. While it may have appeared from a distance as one large crowd of hundreds of people, upon closer examination it was discovered by officers that people were predominantly within groups of five people or less…Additionally, groups were dynamic and were constantly changing, sometimes dependent on the known presence of authorities before they could be approached and officers form evidence of possible infractions,” said the statement.
Kingston Police said only one infraction, under the Liquor License Act, was observed and enforced by their officers.
“Upon further review of the current legislation, Kingston Police is refining its approach,” said Kingston Police.
In addition to the Stay-at-Home order, other conditions found under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) and the City of Kingston’s declared Emergency Order, include:
• Not to attend an indoor organized public event or social gathering regardless of number (unless members of the same household or with one other person who lives alone)
• Not to attend an outdoor organized public event or social gathering of more than 5 people
• Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres in City parks and other permitted recreational activities (exception if members of the same household or children under 16 who are with their parents)
• Team sports are not to be played or practised within a recreational amenity
• Other sports or games that are likely to result in individuals coming within 2 metres of each other are not to be played or practised within the amenity
• Wear a face mask or covering while indoors and on the premises of a business or organization that is open
• Wear a face mask or covering during any period in which they are in attendance at an organized public event or gathering permitted by this Order and within 2 metres of another individual who is not part of their household
Kingston Police say that set fines for any violations of the conditions listed above will range from $880 to $2,060, and those who host or organize an event or gathering in excess of prescribed numbers will face a summons to court and a minimum fine of $10,000.