Toronto police lay hundreds of charges related to COVID-19 emergency orders over the weekend
Toronto Police Mounted Unit officers patrol a city park in Toronto on Thursday, April 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- Toronto police laid more than 220 charges over the weekend under the province’s emergency orders.
Interim Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said in a tweet Monday evening that 221 charges were laid by police between Friday afternoon and Sunday night.
The charges laid in connection with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) over the weekend are nearly as many as the 231 charges Toronto police laid between Monday and Friday last week, the first week that dedicated enforcement teams were operating.
“Our enforcement efforts continue,” Ramer said in a tweet linking to Friday’s update. “Since this update, over the weekend, TorontoPolice have laid an additional 221 charges, including criminal code charges, in relation to non-compliance with emergency orders. Please continue to stay home and stay safe.”
Ontario's stay-at-home order has been in effect since April 8 and is set to continue until May 19 in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 as a third wave threatens to overwhelm the health care system.
Toronto police put together 16 dedicated teams to enforce the stay-at-home rules, which include a prohibition against gatherings with those outside of one's household, except for people who live alone, who are allowed to gather with one other household.
Toronto police have said that they are mostly focusing on large indoor events being held at short-term rentals, and in closed bars and restaurants.
Police dispersed large gatherings daily last week and issued a statement on Friday urging people not to gather.
Toronto police have said previously that they will not be stopping random individuals or cars to ask them why they are out and that people are not compelled to explain why they are out of their homes.
However officers can enter a property if they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there is non-compliance with the rules, such as complaints about a large party taking place.
Those attending illegal gatherings can face fines of $750, while organizers can face fines of $10,000.