Most of Ottawa's 21 Christmas weekend pandemic charges were at 1 gathering

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Ottawa bylaw officers handed out 21 tickets around Christmas weekend to people violating the province's COVID-19 rules.

Nineteen of the charges were at a single private gathering at an unnamed Carling Avenue restaurant.

"We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone. Officers continue to use their discretion and provide verbal warnings where possible," Roger Chapman, the city's director of by-law and regulatory services, wrote in an email Thursday.

Besides that restaurant, between Dec. 24 and 28 officers issued one charge for a business being open when it wasn't allowed to be and another charge for a gathering at someone's home.

Officers also issued verbal warnings to people at two different social gatherings where Chapman said people were co-operative and left immediately upon request.

That period of time included the two days before Ontario's lockdown came into effect and the stricter rules under that lockdown's three first days, which include banning indoor gatherings for people who don't live together.