OPP stepping up enforcement of COVID-19 gathering limits

ORILLIA – OPP officials are reminding Ontarians that police will be enforcing gathering limits to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Frontline OPP officers will be enforcing provisions of the Reopening Ontario Act and encouraging the public to follow the direction of their local public health units.

As of Sept. 19 the new gathering limits are 10 for indoor events/gatherings and 25 for outdoor events/gatherings.

The new rules apply to unmonitored social gatherings and events such as parties, dinners, barbecues or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

They do not apply to bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, and recreational sporting or performing art events, which police say must already follow specific public health and safety guidelines.

Additionally, police officers now have the authority to temporarily close any premises where they have reasonable grounds to believe that a gathering or event is in violation of any gathering limits.

Individuals will be required to leave the premises if they have been temporarily closed and will not be permitted to return/re-enter on the same day unless re-entry is authorized by an officer. This does not apply if it is their place of residence.

Individuals who refuse to leave may be ticketed or charged.

Anyone who believes a gathering is not adhering to the Reopening Ontario Act should report it to their local bylaw enforcement authority or police service.

“The OPP encourages everyone to do their part to support our health care system and workers at this difficult time and minimize the impact of COVID-19 in all of our communities,” police stated in a press release.