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Denley: City of Ottawa's tough COVID-19 crackdown measures could backfire

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07.04.2020

Our governments need to walk a fine line when enforcing the unprecedented restrictions that have been imposed to control the spread of COVID-19. Some enforcement is necessary to underline the seriousness of the situation, but too much looks foolish and adds to the already substantial stress we’re all facing.

Reasonable people will disagree about where to draw the line between too little and too much enforcement, but for me, Ottawa’s municipal government has been a little overly enthusiastic.

Should a dad with an autistic four-year-old be threatened with a potential fine of $700 for playing soccer with his son on a piece of land that doesn’t appear to be connected to any park? What was the potential harm? There was certainly none apparent. The same could be said for the man who was fined $880 for walking his dog in Britannia Park. How was that any more threatening to public health than walking his dog on a street, which is still allowed?

These are onerous penalties, especially at a time when so many people are facing financial hardship. They aren’t........

© Ottawa Citizen