Here’s how many tickets the city issued over the Christmas holidays in Mississauga
Although the city promised it would fine anyone violating physical distancing restrictions amid Mississauga's lengthy lockdown, it appears that some businesses and individuals allegedly tried to skirt the rules over the Christmas holidays.
According to information provided by the city, bylaw officers fined six businesses, as well as four people who allegedly attended prohibited gatherings, over the past week. The city also issued a fine for an alleged violation of its face-covering bylaw.
The fines were laid after Premier Doug Ford announced that all of Ontario would be entering lockdown at 12:01 am on Dec. 16. The lockdown is expected to last at least 28 days in Southern Ontario, with elementary schools closing to in-class learning until Jan. 11 and high schools moving online until at least Jan. 25.
Mississauga has been in lockdown (or the "grey zone") since Nov. 23 and under increased public health measures such as bans on indoor dining and fitness since October.
According to the city, a total of 182 businesses have received $880 fines sinch March 30 and 266 tickets have been issued in relation to gatherings.
Under lockdown rules, people are not allowed to socialize in person with anyone outside of their immediate household. Single parents and residents who live alone are permitted to join one other household.
The city also charged three businesses for allegedly violating COVID-19 restrictions, and has charged 10 businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Mayor Bonnie Crombie told insauga.com that bylaw officers have noticed an uptick in "speakeasy" type establishments in commercial areas.
"[We've] been noticing another trend and that's gatherings in commercial units and they're calling them speakeasies, for a better word. They're gatherings with typically men, sometimes with shisha, sometimes there's gaming involved, sometimes there's alcohol involved," Crombie says.
"[Bylaw officers] are on to that and they're on to smaller, off-the-grid restaurants that are darkening their windows or covering them with paper that are having indoor events as well. So, there have been a number of fines assigned to those types of functions."
Prior to Christmas Eve, the city said it would be on the lookout for violations throughout the festive season, advising residents that additional staff from various departments were re-assigned to assist with proactive inspections and investigate public complaints.
Failure to comply with restrictions can result in a $750 ticket. If the charge is laid by issuing a summons, a failure to comply with an emergency order charge could result in the following fines:
- 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 upon conviction.
To date, 651 fines and charges have been issued to both individuals and businesses in Mississauga.
"We must remain vigilant and continue listening to the advice our health experts - to stay home as much as possible, only leave for the essentials and limit your close in-person contact to just your immediate household," said Crombie in a December statement.
"I firmly believe that these continued measures will help us avoid a longer shutdown in 2021."
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