Diwali celebrations cause concerns over next COVID-19 surge in Brampton


Published November 16, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Mayor Patrick Brown is concerned over another COVID-19 surge in Brampton following a crowded celebration this past weekend for Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas.

Diwali, also known as the Indian Festival of Lights, is one of the most celebrated holidays in the City of Brampton due to the city’s large South Asian population.

On Nov. 15, Brown said that fines were being issued after hundreds of people reportedly gathered for a Diwali celebration on Saturday and said the event was “out of control.”

The event happened at Gurdwara Nanaksar on McLaughlin Road South, where high pedestrian traffic was reported. Peel police and bylaw officers attended the scene to try and get people to move along.

“We do take these scenarios very seriously,” the mayor said. “We hoped that we weren’t going to have a crowd that was out of control, but in this case it was, and immediately we had Peel police and Brampton bylaw show up.”

Prior to the weekend, at a conference on Nov. 12, Mayor Patrick Brown and Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, advised against social gatherings in Brampton for Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas and asked residents to celebrate with members of their immediate households only.
These concerns come after a spike in COVID-19 cases were seen after Thanksgiving and Halloween.

While Brown stated he was “nervous” prior to the weekend and warned the public that bylaw officers would be out to ensure that there were no social gatherings ahead of the weekend, fines were still issued for large gatherings in the city.

Under the current provincial framework, event organizers whose events exceeded the legal limit of attendees may face a minimum fine of $10,000, while those who attended the event could face a $750 fine.

“If we have any form of household mixing, we’re going to have a Diwali spike on top of the surging (COVID-19) numbers we have right now,” concluded Brown at the conference.

Additional COVID-19 updates as well as a bylaw update on the recent fines issued in Brampton will be provided at the city’s weekly conference later this week.

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