Calgary father fined $1,200 for not social distancing despite claim he followed the rules

A Calgary father is still in disbelief after he was handed a $1,200 ticket for allegedly violating the public health act while he was out with his family at Deerfoot Athletic Park on the weekend.

Cenek Patik was with his children on May 16, going through soccer drills with a few other other families and says they were all social distancing and never exceeded more than 15 people.

“We followed the rules and I did my due diligence,” said Patik. “We should be allowed to do skills sessions and dryland training.”

Despite that, Patik said he was confronted by a police officer and handed a ticket for violating the health order.

That wasn't the first time he'd encountered the officer, he tells CTV News. Patik says a week ago, he was at the same park with other families doing the same soccer drills.

He says the officer approached him and said they were not allowed to play soccer and weren’t social distancing and let them off with a warning.

“We said we aren’t playing soccer, we’re kicking a ball around and we’re using cones for social distancing. I did my due diligence and I was trying to explain to the police officer what that was and he didn’t want to hear any of it,” said Patik.

Wanting to get more answers, Patik says he reached out to Alberta Health for clarification.

In an email, a representative stated, “You and your family are within your rights to be in a park with another family, and the kids are able to be kicking a soccer ball around. This is not prohibited providing there are not more than 15 of you, the equipment you are using belongs to you, and that people within your party are practicing physical distancing."

In a media conference, Tom Sampson, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, says he is aware of the incident and couldn’t comment because it is a police matter but confirms soccer drills are allowed.

“A family unit could go to a park with a ball and can kick it back and forth. That family unit cohort can do those sorts of things but the game of soccer is banned.”

Patik says he has filed a complaint with the Calgary Police Service.

CTV News reached out to CPS for comment, but because the matter is under investigation, they would not provide any further details.