An Abbotsford mother is speaking out after she feels her friend was unfairly targeted for violating what she calls inconsistent COVID-19 policies.
Lisa Engh, a local mother of three, was shocked on Saturday when she learned that her friend received a visit from two Abbotsford Police Department officers.
The reason for the visit was that a neighbour had informed police that two other children, who did not live at the friend’s house, were observed playing with the friend’s children on a trampoline. That type of interaction is not allowed under the current provincial health order, as citizens are being asked to remain within their own house.
Engh’s friend was given a warning and was told that she could face a fine of $2,300 if she violates the order again.
The friend took her news to social media and it spread through the Internet. She eventually deleted the message after receiving a large deal of feedback. The News did reach out to the friend, but she did not want to speak on the record.
Engh took to social media on Saturday explaining the situation and her thoughts on what occurred.
Engh spoke to The News today (Tuesday) and questioned the need for this type of enforcement.
“You tell me how two home school boys are putting two neighbourhood boys at risk,” she said. “By playing outside? Where’s the risk? I don’t think there is a risk and it’s time to use common sense.”
She stated that there are many inconsistencies with what children can and cannot do.
“I have three different children at different stages so my cohort is huge,” she said, about her own children and their risks. “And that’s just the school. And they’re still allowed to go to music lessons - that’s allowed indoors - but two children playing in a backyard… I don’t know how the air is different in the backyard than it is in the playground - which is also allowed.”
She said she does support the APD and believes they are just following orders from someone higher up.
Engh said that many people have been commenting on her videos on social media and the majority are concerned with these restrictions.
“Many people are concerned that all of this is infringing on our rights,” she said. “Our fundamental freedoms have been taken away without justification, including the right to assembly and legal rights.”
She cited the Emergencies Act of 1985 as proof that our fundamental rights cannot be taken away even in the case of a national emergency.
Engh also said she is concerned with the possible long-term effects the pandemic measures are having on children.
“I think this is causing an irrational fear in our children,” she said. “It is not okay that police are coming to tell them they cannot play with their friends for fear of making them sick. If my children are healthy they should be allowed to play with their friends, we are still in a free country or so I thought.”
The APD released a statement on Monday urging the public to follow the public health orders and asking for locals’ co-operation during the pandemic.
APD representatives did confirm that fines could reach as high as $2,300, but that many calls see officers attend and provide education rather than doling out fines.