“Speakeasies” popping up in response to the lockdown in Mississauga: Mayor Crombie
Now that Mississauga will be part of a broader, slightly stricter province-wide lockdown later this week, bylaw officers could find themselves breaking up some more unique gatherings in the city.
On Dec. 22, Mayor Bonnie Crombie told insauga.com that bylaw officers in charge of educating and ticketing people who violate municipal and provincial COVID-related restrictions have noticed an interesting trend over the course of the second wave—the rise of “speakeasy” type gatherings in industrial 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.”
Crombie’s comments came just days after Premier Doug Ford announced that all of Ontario will 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 since Nov. 23 and under increased public health measures such as bans on indoor dining and fitness since October.
“I support Premier Ford’s decision on a Provincewide shutdown. While I and many others in Mississauga were hoping that we would be moved out of lockdown by the New Year, this is regrettably not the case,” Crombie said in a statement.
“The reality is that while COVID-19 case numbers in Peel are beginning to plateau, the situation at our hospitals remains dire, with elective surgeries being cancelled and patients being transferred to neighbouring regions to make room for a surge in COVID patients.”
Earlier this week, the city said that the upcoming holidays “won’t be slowing down the city’s Enforcement Division.”
In a news release, the city said that additional staff from various departments have been re-assigned to assist with proactive inspections, adding that enforcement officers were re-assigned from their regular duties to investigate public complaints.
“We will be strictly enforcing the regulations,” said Sam Rogers, Director of Enforcement for the City of Mississauga, in a statement.
“People need to follow the rules. If our officers observe a violation, a charge will be laid.”
Under current lockdown restrictions, residents are prohibited from socializing with anyone outside of their immediate household. Single parents and residents who live alone are allowed to join with one other household.
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, 171 tickets, 5 summons and 116 Notices of Contravention 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.
“I firmly believe that these continued measures will help us avoid a longer shutdown in 2021.”
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