Toronto officers lay over 350 charges as reports of indoor gatherings remain 'concerningly high'

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Toronto police say more than 350 charges were laid by dedicated COVID-19 enforcement teams during their second week of action.

The 16 teams have been focused on large outdoor events as well as individuals attending indoor events at homes, short-term rentals and closed bars and restaurants.

Staff Superintendent Randy Carter says in a statement that the number of gatherings, parties and events being held across Toronto remain “concerningly high.”

“Police are being called to attend these scenes on a daily basis. We want to thank the public for their cooperation in reporting these events. You are helping to keep our city safe.”

In just one incident from this week, officers responded to reports of a noisy party in the Bloor Street West and Dundas Street area.

On arrival, they witnessed 14 people at a house party. Officers charged everyone in attendance under the EMCPA.

“Our high enforcement numbers should send a clear message that gatherings will not be tolerated and our teams will be out again this weekend responding to calls of those who continue to flout the emergency order,” Carter added.

Officers responded to 296 incidents last week and issued 338 tickets for violations of public health orders as well as 16 criminal charges – an increase of more than 100 tickets from the previous week.

“Anyone thinking of attending a gathering – please don’t risk it. You are putting the health of yourself and others on the line, and you also may also face a fine of $750 if police attend.”

In April, police chief James Ramer announced Toronto officers would be deployed in 16 divisions to enforce provincial orders.

Officers have said they haven’t been making random stops but are allowed to enter a property if they have reasonable grounds to believe there is non-compliance, such as investigating a complaint of a loud party.