Concern about COVID-19 in sports and an Ottawa Police officer found not guilty: Top five stories in Ottawa this week

OTTAWA — Ottawa’s top doctor raises concerns about organized sports, a popular Ottawa attraction fined for breaking COVID-19 gathering limits and a generous tip for a Spark Street restaurant.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top five stories in Ottawa this week.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health issued a warning about team sports spreading COVID-19 in Ottawa this week.

“Ottawa Public Health is investigating several situations where transmission of COVID-19 has occurred in relation to organized team sports,” Dr. Vera Etches said at a press conference Wednesday morning. “COVID-19 transmission is occurring in both adult’s and children’s leagues and in a variety of sports.”

As of Friday, Ottawa Public Health reported five outbreaks involving sports, resulting in 28 cases of COVID-19. Dr. Etches said Ottawa Public Health is investigating 14 teams where at least two people have tested positive for COVID-19 to determine if the virus spread within the team setting.

Dr. Etches told reporters that COVID-19 transmission doesn’t just happen during practices and games.

“It’s before the game, people carpooling together with people outside their household, during the game. It’s practices where people are in contact with each other, after the game it’s people gathering and maybe sharing a meal with each other. It’s not just the play on the ice, for example, but other connections that are made, other close contacts in relation to the activity.”

Dr. Vera Etches

Saunders Farm says it was fined more than $3,500 for violating COVID-19 gathering restrictions with its popular Halloween attraction “Frightfest.”

The west-end farm shifted the popular Halloween attraction to a drive-thru experience, saying Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services considers the event a “gathering.” That means no more than 25 guests are permitted on the 100 acre farm at one-time.

“As a pumpkin farm during the daytime, we are not restricted to gathering rules. But, as a Frightfest at night, we are restricted to gathering rules and this is where there’s confusion,” said Mark Saunders, owner of Saunders Farm, during an interview with Newstalk 580 CFRA “Ottawa Now” with Kristy Cameron.

“So at nighttime, we decided to completely pivot and go to a drive-thru experience, which we’ve had in our back pocket for a number of months and it was something that was considered this summer.”

Saunders Farm

Ottawa Police Const. Daniel Montsion was found not guilty this week on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the death of Abdirahman Abdi.

The verdict came more than three-and-a-half years after the Special Investigations Unit charged Montsion in connection to the death of Abdi on July 24, 2016.

In rendering his verdict, Justice Robert Kelly said the Crown had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force Montsion used during the arrest of Abdi was unjustified.

“The crown has not discharged its onus of proving beyond a reasonable doubt an unlawful act or unreasonable conduct for manslaughter or an unjustified assault to ground liability on the other two charges,” Justice Kelly said. “In the end, I am left with a reasonable doubt on each of the three main issues.”

Abdirahman Abdi

After over 30 years of serving customers in Little Italy, Allegro Ristorante is closing its doors.

In a statement on Instagram, Allegro Ristorante said, “it is with heavy hearts that today we announce the closing of Allegro Ristorante. Saturday, Oct. 24 will be our last night.”

“When we took over Allegro seven years ago, we never expected to have clients and staff become friends, who then became family. It was life changing for us to meet so many good people. We will miss sharing in your special day, being part of your celebrations and being there for you through your sorrows.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Allegro Ristorante said, “A lot of thought went into our decision to sell during the pandemic and we are looking forward to many new adventures. At this time we would like to reiterate our thanks to all the patrons who have visited Allegro over the years.”

Allegro Ristorante

A Sparks Street restaurant says a generous tip from customers last weekend “brings hope that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

On Instagram, Rabbit Hole thanked two customers for leaving a $500 tip on their $170 bill.

It’s the latest in a serious of very generous tips to restaurants and bars struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, CTV News Ottawa shared the story of a $700 tip on the bill for a bottle of wine at Bambu Restaurant on Riverside Drive.

500 dollar tip Rabbit Hole

“It’s a little emotional walking this area. I’ll always remember that this is where my life changed.”

Ottawa’s Lauren Carruthers spoke with CTV News Ottawa’s Matt Skube this week about the events of Sept. 23, when she collapsed on the sidewalk after suffering cardiac arrest.

Two Molly Maid employees were driving by at the exact moment she hit the ground. They stopped and rushed to her side, before calling 911. One of the women started doing compressions. At the same time, another witness made a separate emergency call.

A Canada Post employee rushed to get a public access defibrillator into a school, and then paramedics arrived. Paramedics shocked her heart a second time, regaining a pulse. They rushed her to the Montfort Hospital, where she would spend the next two weeks.

“I shouldn’t be standing here today. Statistically, I should not be alive,” Carruthers says.

Woman saved by bystanders

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