indoor gatherings ontario

Toronto Police laid 40 charges for large social gatherings over the weekend

It's been exactly one year since the very first case of COVID-19 was identified in Canada, yet enforcement teams are still catching residents hosting and attending large gatherings in Toronto.

Fire Chief Matthew Pegg provided his weekly enforcement update during the city's press briefing on Monday afternoon, and said the city has taken formal enforcement action 2,066 times to date.

"Since before the arrival of the first case in Toronto, our teams have worked tirelessly to save lives, prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to do all that we can to protect our healthcare system," said Pegg during the briefing. 

"With those goals in mind, our coordinated enforcement teams continue to work diligently to enforce the regulations in response to COVID-19."

Over the weekend, Pegg said 40 charges were laid against individuals for hosting or attending large gatherings on private property and in private residences. 

In each case, a complaint was made about a potential gathering and enforcement officers investigated before determining whether or not rules were being broken. 

According to Pegg, officers also issued six charges and eight notices to owners and operators of retail stores, personal service settings, and grocery stores for violating the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).

Officers also proactively inspected 90 bars and restaurants over the course of the weekend, and only two charges were laid for an overall compliance rate of 98 per cent. 

A total of 24 people were meanwhile charged after Toronto Police responded to protests and rallies at Nathan Phillips Square and Young-Dundas Square. 

"Unfortunately, we also continue to experience issues with the use of outdoor ice rinks after hours," added Pegg, referring to an ongoing issue that city officials have repeatedly addressed. 

"Our Municipal Licensing & Standards team, working in collaboration with Parks, Forestry and Recreation and Toronto Police, continue to work together to support safe outdoor activities while protecting public safety. Attempting to access and/or use outdoor rinks outside normal operating hours is both dangerous and illegal."

Pegg also reminded residents of the city bylaw requiring physical distancing in all public parks and squares, and he encouraged members of the public to wear masks outside as well. 

"I want to thank the vast majority of residents and businesses who continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city by complying with the public health restrictions and regulations," he said.

Lead photo by

Christian Koval

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