3 charged under COVID-19 rules after church services in Chatham-Kent

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Old Colony Mennonite Church Wheatley (Elvis Nouemsi Njike/ Radio-Canada - image credit)
Old Colony Mennonite Church Wheatley (Elvis Nouemsi Njike/ Radio-Canada - image credit)

Chatham-Kent police say charges have been laid in connection with over-capacity gatherings at three churches over the weekend.

On Sunday morning, police responded to reports of gatherings at Old Colony Mennonite Church locations in Wheatley, Dresden and Charing Cross.

When an officer arrived in Wheatley, there were about 160 cars in the parking lot, according to a media release from the police service on Monday.

In Dresden, about 60 people were seen attending services, and in Charing Cross, 38 cars were outside and more than 90 were inside the church, according to police.

Under the current provincial rules, indoor and outdoor religious gatherings have a capacity of 10 people.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, the minimum fine for hosting a gathering that violates capacity limits is $10,000. The maximum penalty is $100,000 and a year in jail.

One person at each location — a 50-year-old man Dover Township, a 48-year-old man from Chatham Township, a 37-year-old man from Merlin — have been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Similar charges have been laid several times in the municipality.

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