Police issue 12 tickets at $1,000 each to group exceeding gathering limit

·1 min read

Halifax police issued 12 tickets under the Health Protection Act Tuesday night following a complaint in the city's south end of a group violating the COVID-19 gathering limit.

According to a news release from Halifax Regional Police, officers found the group around 10:30 p.m. on a dock on the Northwest Arm.

The address given by police, 6404 Oakland Rd., is a small municipal park with stairs that lead down to the dock.

There were between 12 and 15 people "in very close proximity to one another," violating the 5-person gathering limit issued by the province last week, police said.

Twelve people from the group now face a $1,000 fine, each, according to Staff Sgt. Mo Chediac.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

Prior to last week's tightening of COVID-19 restrictions, only one $1,000 ticket could be issued to large groups, which is what happened when police broke up a party of about 60 people on Nov. 20.

Just a few days after that incident, Premier Stephen McNeil said he wanted stronger enforcement against illegal gatherings, "including a $1,000 fine for every person who walks through the door."

Chediac said police are following that directive and taking seriously any public complaints of Health Protection Act violations. He encouraged people to report violations to police.

"It's something where [the premier and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang] were working on an education piece, but want more enforcement now," Chediac told CBC News.

"Because of course there's been quite a bit of messaging completed through the province as well as the police, so now we're taking more of an enforcement approach with it."