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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Brampton gets to enter Stage 3 despite bad behaviour

Ontario just granted two of its last three remaining Stage 2 public health regions, Toronto and Peel, permission to enter Stage 3 of its economic reopening plan. 

Worries abound in regards to allowing bars, dine-in restaurants and gyms to reopen in Canada's largest city, for sure, but many people are just as concerned (if not more so) about Peel Region getting the go-ahead in light of how some of its inhabitants have been behaving during the lockdown.

You see, Peel Region contains the suburban city of Brampton — the same Brampton that's been making headlines since April for mass emergency order violations.

Just two days ago, Premier Doug Ford publicly chastised some 200 "yahoos" who were busted having a massive backyard party in Brampton over the weekend, telling reporters that the party's host and guests all deserve major fines.

That party, broken up by Peel Regional Police on Saturday night, is only the latest in a long line of gatherings with head counts far beyond the currently allotted 10-person limit, and even the 50-person indoor, 100-person outdoor gathering limit allowed under Stage 3.

Dozens (if not hundreds) of people have been fined $880 each for attending illegal gatherings in Brampton — a known COVID-19 hotspot — since April, when Peel Regional Police busted up at least five backyard parties, one soccer game and two full-on cricket matches over the span of just one week.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown has addressed the problem multiple times throughout the lockdown period, lamenting that city officials are receiving hundreds of complaints every week about "residential, social gatherings."

Earlier this month, Brown announced that yet another house party of more than 40 people had been busted by police, stating: "Individuals who are foolish enough and reckless enough to host a house party during a pandemic are now facing various fines."

Then along came the infamous 200-person Brampton house party... followed four days later by Ontario's announcement that Brampton could enter Stage 3 of reopening along with Toronto (but not Windsor-Essex, which will remain in Stage 2 for the time being.)

Some Ontario residents are calling upon Brown and Ford to reconsider, given Brampton's known propensity for partying.

"Stage 3 - Peel... kinda scary for Brampton residence in light of recent behaviours of some. Patrick Brown this is your opportunity to put hammer down on those who refuse to comply — maximum charges should be laid," wrote one Twitter user after the news was announced.

"Brampton is not responsible enough for Stage 3," wrote another. "People still don't understand that wearing a mask is for others protection not just your own."

Regardless of what people think, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health has determined that it's safe to reopen Peel Region, which added just four new cases of COVID-19 to its total of 6,514 on Wednesday.

"This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health," wrote the province in a press release when announcing that Toronto and Peel could move to Stage 3.

"It is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing."

Ford himself seems confident in the regions moving forward, but did warn all Ontario residents during his press conference Wednesday afternoon not to have parties.

"We can't take our eye off the ball for a second. It will come back and bite us in the backside — a second wave like we've never seen before. So by no means is this over," said the Premier. "Continue practicing social distancing. I emphasize do not, DO NOT have parties. Do NOT have these big gatherings... because we're risking everything."

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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