Toronto police lay more than 30 charges connected to private gatherings
Pedestrians walk on the boardwalk in the Beach neighbourhood of Toronto on Saturday, April 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- The City of Toronto says its enforcements teams laid several charges over the weekend against people and businesses violating COVID-19 restrictions.
The charges came as the city moved into a lockdown on Monday and entered the final phase of Ontario’s COVID-19 tiered framework, which shuts down indoor dining, shopping centres, and personal care services.
“Over the course of the weekend, our enforcement teams inspected 44 restaurants and bars,” Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading Toronto's emergency response to COVID-19, said at a news conference held on Monday afternoon.
“Thirty were found to be operating in compliance with the regulations and orders. Fourteen were found to be in violation, resulting in five charges being laid.”
Pegg said that his team also issued four warning letters after it inspected 23 hookah lounges and 65 flea market vendors. He said they also inspected 113 personal service businesses, entertainment establishments and gyms.
“I'm pleased to advise that each of these 113 businesses were found to be operating in compliance with the regulations and orders,” he told reporters.
Under the new lockdown restrictions, all indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited, with the exception of gatherings with members of the same household. Outdoor gatherings have been restricted to 10 people, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
Pegg said city enforcement teams also laid 33 charges against people for illegal activity on Toronto beaches and parks, adding that officers extinguished 35 bonfires over the weekend.
The city said officers also responded to 106 complaints related to gatherings on private property over the weekend.
“Forty-seven of these were received via complaints submitted to 311, and the additional 59 were submitted directly to Toronto police. Thirty-nine charges were laid as a result of these complaints,” Pegg said.
Ontario health officials reported a record-breaking 1,589 cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The province also reported that 19 more people have died due to the disease.