Justin Trudeau addressed the country on Tuesday, urging people to continue social distancing efforts and, if you have travelled, to stay home.
In his speech, Trudeau said that nearly one million Canadians have made their way home since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More Canadians are on their way from Morocco, Peru, and the government is working on flights Panama, Tunisia, and Ukraine.
Trudeau emphasized the importance of staying home when returning from other countries. It is important that people stay home to reduce the number of new cases that arise. This helps prevent COVID-19 from spreading and effectively shortens how long these procedures will need to stay in place.
Trudeau said that he does not know how long we will have to do this, but it is ultimately determined by how well we adhere to guidelines.
“The duration of this crisis will be determined by the choices we make right now. By decisions we take every single day. So, if you want things to get back to normal, do your part, stay home,” Trudeau said. “If you have just returned from abroad, go straight home from the airport and do not leave for at least 14 days. This is not a suggestion. You cannot pick up groceries or visit your parents or your friends. You need to go home and stay there. If people do not follow these guidelines, we will put much more stringent measures in place”
Trudeau also announced that the government is ready to introduce more stringent measures if people are unable to follow guidelines. “If people do not comply with expert advice and government guidelines, we will have to take additional steps.”
Trudeau also extended his thanks to all civil servants, include airline, port, and border workers, as well as those keeping the country running.
“Right now, there are people who are still going to work because they have to. Right now, there are people who are still going to work because they have to. Pharmacists, delivery folks, postal workers, custodial staff, truck drivers and many, many more are keeping the country running,” Trudeau said in his speech. “They deserve our thanks for everything they do. But these people are more than just their job. They’re somebody’s mom or granddad, somebody’s best friend or favourite colleague, so please, for them, stay home.”
Municipal police may be getting a head start at this. Fredericton Police Chief, Roger Brown, told the CBC on Tuesday that they are prepared to arrest those who are not complying with orders to stay home.
“If someone is clearly going against what the chief medical officer has asked, we do have provisions in the Criminal Code.” Brown told the CBC. “We have done our research with respect to our authorities. We do have the authority to arrest people if need be, and we are in a position to do that and we will do that if we think the situation warrants it.”
Brown said that no arrests have been made and non-compliance has not been an issue.
On Friday, in Quebec, a woman who tested positive for coronavirus had to be arrested because she refused to quarantine. She complied with police, though, and it is unclear if she will face any charges.