TIMMINS -- Following an announcement from Ottawa making it mandatory for Canadian travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon return, residents in Timmins are stressing the importance of self-quarantine.

Sue St-Pierre returned from a three-month trip to Florida on Monday, and immediately isolated herself in her home after seeing the worsening COVID-19 situation that was only a distant concern when she first left the country.

“I wouldn’t want to pass (the virus) on to anybody, not even an enemy,” said St-Pierre, who has diabetes and spoke to CTV from a distance. “It’s something that you have to follow the rules ... you have to isolate.”

The self-quarantine rule comes with strict fines and potential arrest for those that still go out in public in the two weeks after travelling.

Before the announcement, the Timmins Police Service previously had to speak to some residents who did not follow the strong recommendation.

After an emergency meeting, police told CTV it still doesn’t the power to place fines or arrests on its own, but first needs direction from the local health authority.

“Once that order has been given and a breach is underway, then the police can take some action,” said Marc Depatie, communications coordinator for the police service. “Nonetheless, we would much rather educate then have to prosecute. A softer approach is called for here.”

As for the rest of the community, police do have the power to issue fines to non-essential businesses that remain open despite the province’s legislated closure, as well as any organized groups of more than 50 people.

Fines for both are $750. If someone obstructs police from enforcing those rules, the fine is $1,000.

For St-Pierre, she has seen complaints online from those who claim to have seen travellers neglect to self-quarantine and stressed that this situation “is no joke.”

She said she won’t be welcoming any guests, not even her daughter, who St-Pierre said will bring her groceries and leave them on the front porch, ring the doorbell and leave. It’s safer for everyone that way.

“You can’t be out in public and touching everything, especially if you’ve been out of the country,” St-Pierre said. “We have to protect not only our family, but our neighbours, our friends, everybody.”