Since entering the “grey zone” late last month, officials in Mississauga and Brampton have laid more than 180 charges for violations of the lockdown, saying most fines continue to be laid against people at private gatherings.
Enforcement officials in Mississauga say they have issued 126 charges since the “grey zone” came into effect Nov. 23, including 37 over the weekend. Of those, 33 were for people at private gatherings.
Neighbouring Brampton has issued 55 charges since Nov. 23, with 14 of those charges being laid against business and 41 at residential addresses, officials say.
“Since moving into lockdown level, our enforcement division has seen a significant increase in both public complaints and violations,” said Sam Rogers, Mississauga’s director of enforcement. “Violations were observed in various sectors including fitness, restaurants and cafes and retail stores, but the majority of tickets issued were for private gatherings.”
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie warned Monday that people caught violating the rules “will be met with a fine or even worse, the spread of COVID-19 to your family and friends.”
The lockdown restrictions in place in Peel and Toronto since Nov. 23, and in York Region and Windsor-Essex as of this week, ban indoor organized events or private gatherings except with members of the same household. They also prohibit indoor and outdoor restaurant service, with non-essential retail only permitted for curbside pickup or delivery only.
Fines can range from a couple hundred dollars, and more serious offences could result in a court summons with potential fines of up to $100,000 and up to one-year imprisonment for an individual, $500,000 for a director or officer of a corporation or $10,000,000 for a corporation.
Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown said while the vast majority of Brampton residents and businesses are following the rules, some are still landing in the crosshairs of public health restrictions.
“Celebrating the holidays will look and feel different this year, but we have to keep up our efforts in order to move out of this lockdown as soon as possible,” Brown said Tuesday.
Brampton was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year over a series of high-profile parties, one of which attracted an estimated 200 people.
Between March 31 and Nov. 12, Brampton laid 940 charges, including 66 summonses that have been served or are in the process of being served. In Mississauga, 424 tickets and or fines were handed out over the same time. In both cities, people hosting residential gatherings accounted for most of the fines.
Adjusted for population, Peel Region continues to see Ontario’s highest rate of COVID-19 infections, at more than 200 cases weekly per 100,000.
Ontario reported a record single-day total of 2,275 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star