Kelowna residents are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, according to the city’s safety director Darren Caul.
In the last nine days, Caul said the city has received an average of 15 calls a day from residents complaining about others not distancing enough when out on city parks and walkways. The number may change in the next few days, he said, as this is the first week that the city’s bylaw department will be handling all non-compliance calls related to COVID-19.
Caul added they also receive calls from residents asking if businesses should or should not be operating, and others call to complain that some businesses are not promoting physical distancing.
He said in a city of 140,000 people, 15 complaints a day suggests people and businesses, for the most part, are doing their share to help flatten the curve.
“It suggests a high compliance rate and that our residents are taking the situation seriously,” he said.
Caul added the city’s bylaw officers act to educate the public, not to fine them.
“The request of the province is for bylaw services to be first and foremost educating those they come upon that are the subject of the complaint or who they come across on their daily duties who are not maintaining physical distance,” he said.
He added if educating residents doesn’t get the necessary compliance, bylaw officers can issue a verbal warning.
“But ultimately, continued non-compliance will be reported to the local health authority for follow up and enforcement action.”
“At this point, our focus is on education and that typically enables us to get to compliance. But if we see continued non-compliance however, we will be working with the provincial health authority and they will take the enforcement action.”