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Woman charged with COVID-19 rules breach released from custody


Actions putting public health and safety at risk won’t be tolerated, RNC says

CORNER BROOK, N.L. — A woman arrested in Corner Brook earlier this week for allegedly failing to abide by self-isolation rules related to the coronavirus has been released from custody.

The woman, 53, made an appearance in provincial court in Corner Brook via video from the RNC lockup Wednesday afternoon and was released with strict conditions, including that she self-isolate.

She is due back in court in June to enter a plea to a charge of contravening special orders by the provincial government under its Public Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The woman, whom court documents indicate is of no fixed address, arrived in the province within the last two days, police say.

Sources say she came by ferry from North Sydney, N.S., and took a bus from the ferry terminal in Port-aux-Basques to a hotel in Corner Brook.

Police received information that the woman was not self-isolating, and reportedly located her in a parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

“Officers proceeded to educate the woman on current regulations in effect related to the public-health emergency. Officers continued efforts to communicate with the woman after being met with noncompliance,” the RNC stated in a news release issued late Wednesday afternoon. “Further attempts to achieve co-operation were unsuccessful, and the woman was placed under arrest.”

Witnesses told The Telegram the woman was wearing a medical mask at the time she was arrested.

Police say there were no outward indications the woman is carrying the coronavirus.

Anyone coming to Newfoundland and Labrador from anywhere outside the province is ordered to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days whether they have symptoms or not, as the coronavirus can be carried unknowingly. Last week, the province invoked measures allowing it to enforce compliance with recommendations from the chief medical officer of health in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Any person who violates these orders is subject to a fine of $500-$2,500, a prison sentence of less than six months or a combination of the two. Businesses face fines between $5,000 and $50,000.

The woman is believed to be the first person arrested under the emergency measures, though police have responded to a number of calls related to reports of potential non-compliance.

The RNC and the provincial government are urging people to visit to report a person or business they believe is not complying with the rules regarding COVID-19, and not contact police directly.

The website also contains a self-assessment tool, information for essential workers in need of child care, a resource for anyone having issues or concerns with self-isolation, and other information about the coronavirus in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“By banding together in this effort to mitigate risk, we can prevent the devastating effects of this virus on our community,” the RNC stated.

“Compliance with the evidence-based guidance from officials is vital to minimal impact on our community. Actions which will put our community's health and safety at risk will not be tolerated.”

Twitter: @tara_bradbury | Twitter: @WS_dianecrocker


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