Toronto to step up enforcement of illegal gatherings as COVID-19 cases rise

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TORONTO – The city will step up its law enforcement efforts following the province’s decision to reduce the size of permitted social gatherings and increase financial penalties for those who break the rules. Social gatherings were previously limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors as part of Stage 3 of Ontario’s plan to reopen, but the Ford government has now lowered the limits to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, unless gatherings are held in a “staffed enterprise.” »Like a restaurant, bar or cinema.

He also introduced hefty fines of up to $ 10,000 for anyone throwing an illegal party and $ 750 for participants.

Speaking to CP24 on Monday morning, Mayor John Tory admitted the reduced limits will be “more difficult” for police and law enforcement officials to meet as they will apply primarily to gatherings in private residences.

Tory, however, said city staff have been working hard on a plan to speed up enforcement of the new rules since their announcement last week and would provide more details on next steps in a regular briefing this post. midday.

The mayor also said the city has ‘other things on our plate’ regarding new COVID-19 restrictions that may be instituted and that it is possible that these may also be announced this post. -midday.

“None of us tell the enforcement people what to do, but we can coordinate their efforts and coordinate the information coming back to the public so they know we are making a big effort to enforce this,” did he declare.

Ontario Now Has ‘Biggest Fines in Country’, Says Ford

Premier Doug Ford has bragged that Ontario now has ‘the biggest fines in the country’ for illegal social gatherings and won’t hesitate to ‘throw the book’ at rule breakers, but much of it will come back local authorities to interpret and enforce the new rules.

Tory, who has lobbied Ford for the lower limits along with a number of other GTA mayors, did not provide specific details on what additional steps will be taken during his interview with CP24, but he left to hear that this would probably be responding to complaints. .

He also expressed optimism that the vast majority of residents will not need to be fined $ 10,000 to get the word out.

“I think people got the message from the Prime Minister’s announcements. It’s a very limited sphere, but if my personal conversations are any indication, people have said that there are weddings that have been called off, cut short, or cut and that there are people planning to attend. parties for birthdays or whatever and they didn’t go. This is what we are trying to do, ”he said.

“We don’t try to spoil the fun, we don’t try to make people’s lives miserable and we certainly don’t try to spoil marriages, but we are trying to say that it can’t be business like it is. ‘habit.’

Today’s city briefing is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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