Would you pay $880 to attend a house party in Scarborough on a Tuesday night?
If the answer is no, you should stay probably stay home, because that cover fee isn't optional if the cops come knocking right now.
Toronto Police Const. Randall Arsenault says that 14 people were fined $880 each last night for "blatant disregard of rules meant to protect us all" from the spread of COVID-19.
"Large crowds of 40-50 people" were busted in Scarborough on Tuesday evening, according to Arsenault, and fined under the provincial government's Reopening Ontario Act.
Events with up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors had been permitted across the province as part of Stage 3 reopening plans until last week when social gathering limits were scaled back due to a spike in new cases of the coronavirus.
Limits were lowered back down to Stage 2 levels (10 people indoors and 25 outdoors) for private gatherings in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa on Friday.
14 people were fined $880 each last night in Scarborough under the Reopening Ontario Act. Blatant disregard of rules meant to protect us all. Large crowds of 40-50 people. House parties, please keep them under control. #Toronto #Ontario #ScarbTO #Scarborough #BeSafe #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/XXymS5bcZk— Officer Randall Arsenault (@PCArsenault) September 23, 2020
Officials continue to blame the recent spike, in part, on large "private social gatherings" and the widespread flouting of physical distancing rules among younger Ontarians.
While a party with 40-50 attendees pales in comparison to some of the events we've seen in places like Brampton and Ancaster lately, it is still against the law — not to mention dangerous when a highly-contagious virus is resurging.
As of right now, anyone caught hosting a party with more than 10 people inside or 25 outside (and no, the groups can't be merged) is subject to a $10,000 fine. Those who attend such events face fines of $880 for violating social gathering rules.
These scaled back limits do not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events.
In other words, the problem isn't bars — it's parties (weddings included.)
"House parties, please keep them under control," wrote Arsenault on Twitter of last night's event in Scarborough.
Per provincial emergency orders, "under control" means less than 10 people indoors — or better yet, no parties at all.
by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO