stay at home order

Police bust group of Toronto residents partying in cottage country vacation rental

A detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police has charged six GTA residents for violating emergency orders under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) after the group was found gathered in a short-term rental home along Lake Simcoe north of Barrie.

Authorities said in a statement released on Sunday that they were called to the scene of a suspected indoor party in Oro-Medonte late in the evening of May 22 over the Victoria Day weekend (surprise, surprise).

Unfortunately for those inside, their IDs gave away the fact that they were from out of town, which did not exactly please the local officers. But, the charges were based on the size of the indoor gathering and not the fact that the attendees traveled from another region.

Airbnbs have been a contentious issue in the small township of 21,000 or so, with some — including the municipality itself — looking for stronger rules surrounding them up to full bans, especially amid the pandemic. Others are formally appealing such rigid regulations.

Illicit gatherings in general, meanwhile, have been an ongoing issue in various parts of the province where people have been busted attending massive parties in residences and commercial spaces, huge car meet-ups, and other get-togethers.

In some areas, it seems that officials have even cracked down on people from different households riding in vehicles together or hanging out in parking lots in close proximity.

Typical May 2-4 long weekend gatherings and usual celebrations had to be severely toned down provincewide this year given that we are still under stringent lockdown and a stay-at-home order.

Thankfully, restrictions are easing over the coming weeks as we enter Premier Doug Ford and his team's 3-Step Roadmap to Reopening — including gathering limits, which were expanded to five people from any household outdoors on May 22, and are due to be upped to 10 outdoors on June 14.

Indoor private get-togethers, though, have been completely prohibited in parts of the province such as Toronto since all the way back in November and will not be permitted again until Step 2 of reopening.

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