Charges laid over gatherings

·1 min read

Feeling the need to party with your friends during a province-wide lockdown?

It could prove to be an expensive night of fun.

That’s what four Chatham-Kent homeowners learned when they were each fined $880 by Chatham-Kent police on New Year’s Eve for hosting a holiday get-together.

The gatherings — which took place in Merlin, Chatham, Tilbury and Raleigh Township — resulted in charges of failing to comply with an order contrary to the Reopening Ontario Act. Police were responding to public complaints.

Chief Gary Conn has made Chatham-Kent’s stance on breaking the rules around COVID-19 very clear, warning there is “zero tolerance” and the time for education is over.

In a media statement issued Monday, the Chief said it is unfortunate some people still choose to not comply with the law.

“It is only through compliance, cooperation and collaboration that we will overcome this virus,” Conn explained. “I am once again urging citizens to please comply and assist us in helping you.”

The Ontario lockdown came into effect Dec.26 at 12:01 a.m.

Other gatherings in the region have resulted in charges against residents of Chatham-Kent.

A 43-year-old Merlin man has been charged in connection with a large gathering at a Wheatley Church on Boxing Day.

After receiving a complaint from the public, police attended the Old Colony Mennonite Church, where they observed more than 100 unmasked people inside the church.

Under the grey tier-lockdown only 10 may attend a religious gathering indoors and they must be wearing masks.

Police said everyone complied with the order to end the service and leave the property

Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald