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Children as young as 12 now face fines for violating 'safer at home' order, city announces

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The fine for first-time offenses is $90 for children ages 12 and 13

Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Children as young as 12 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, can be fined for violating the state's "safer at home" order that aims to help stop the coronavirus from spreading, WLUK-TV reported.

The station said fines for first-time offenses are as follows:

  • $90 for children ages 12 and 13
  • $187 for children 14 through 16 years of age
  • $313 for offenders 17 and older

Parents and guardians also can be cited for children's actions in certain circumstances, WLUK added.

It's an alternative to filing criminal charges

Police Chief William Lamb told the station the ordinance was adopted this week as an alternative to filing criminal charges through the Fond du Lac County District Attorney's Office.

"We will continue to try to use an education first approach with violations of this Emergency Public Health Order when it's appropriate," Lamb wrote in a letter to the community, which also said officers won't automatically write tickets to those gathering in groups, WLUK reported.

The letter states that examples of prohibited activities include:

  • Use of playgrounds
  • Use of sports, play, or recreational equipment such as basketball courts
  • "Cruising" and "hanging out" with friends in any type of group, large or small
  • Group gatherings, including parties and cookouts

According to the letter, the order states that "all public and private gatherings of any number of people that are not part of a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes expressly permitted in this Order. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a single household or living unit."

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