Ottawa Bylaw issues seven tickets for illegal gatherings over the weekend

OTTAWA — The city of Ottawa is reminding residents that social gatherings are prohibited during the stay-at-home order, after Bylaw Services officers spent the weekend responding to a “number of calls” related to indoor gatherings.

Bylaw Services officers issued nine charges for violations of the COVID-19 rules over the past five days, including seven tickets for illegal gatherings.

Under Ontario’s stay-at-home order, you are not allowed to gather indoors or outdoors with anyone you do not live with, except one other person from outside of the household that lives alone.

“There were a number of calls related to indoor gatherings in private residences. We want to remind everyone that a stay-at-home order is still in effect,” said Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa’s general manager of emergency and protective services.

“This means that you should only be leaving your home for essential reasons. Gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are limited to members of your own household, but one exception to this is that single people can have exclusive contact with one other household. The purpose of these new restrictions is to keep people at home as much as possible in order to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 and particularly to prevent our hospital system from becoming overwhelmed and save lives.”

Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services (BLRS) says officers responded to 665 requests for service between April 16 and 20.

“(Officers) issued nine charges, of which seven were for social gatherings, and one warning under the Provincial Orders and the Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw,” said Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

“Due to extremely high call volumes, a number of requests for service are still under investigation and charges may be pending.”

Under Ontario’s Provincial Orders, the fine for attending an illegal gathering is $880, while the organizer of an event or gathering may be fined a minimum of $10,000.

Chapman says Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services has adjusted staffing to facilitate enforcement of the amended Provincial Orders and provide proactive patrols of parks.

Last Friday, the Ontario government announced the closure of all outdoor sports facilities, including tennis courts, basketball courts, skate parks, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and other multi-use fields.  Picnic sites and picnic tables are also closed to the public during the stay-at-home order.

On Monday, medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches issued a Section 22 Class Order to make face masks mandatory on playground equipment.

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