Toronto police have busted more than 1,000 illegal gatherings in the past 3 weeks
With Toronto's warmest weekend of the year to date just hours from popping off, police are once again urging all residents to refrain from gathering in groups.
Not only is such behaviour illegal under the Reopening Ontario Act and in violation of municipal physical distancing bylaws, it could cost you a pretty penny — and you're more likely than ever to get caught now that special COVID-19 measure enforcement teams are in play.
The Toronto Police service announced Friday afternoon that officers have shown up to at least 1,000 unlawful gatherings since April 22, when 16 dedicated enforcement teams first started their patrols.
"Officers from all divisions continue to attend and investigate parties, meet-ups and social gatherings at condos, short-term rentals, as well as closed bars and restaurants," reads the release.
While indoor gatherings appear to be the most pressing problem, police say they're also now "carrying out proactive patrols in areas where a number of previous events have taken place, including in outdoor spaces."
Heads up, Trinity Bellwoods revellers: Social gatherings of any size, indoors or outdoors, are prohibted right now under the freshly extended stay-at-home order. You can only legally hang out with members of your own household and must maintain a distance of at least six feet from anyone you don't live with.
"With the weather set to be warm this weekend, I urge people not to risk gathering with friends and family," said Staff Superintendent Randy Carter on Friday in the release. "Our teams will be responding to calls all through the weekend and those caught breaching the rules will face a $750 ticket."
Over the past week alone, police say that they've issued more than 403 tickets under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and Reopening Ontario Act. And it's not only tickets people are getting hit with; 11 criminal charges were also laid last week in relation to illegal gatherings.
"Our dedicated teams are attending more than 300 calls a week," says Carter. "A stark number which sadly doesn't seem to be dropping despite repeated calls for people not to socialize."
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