Organizer of parking lot party fined for not adhering to social distancing rules: Belleville police

Belleville police say they charged a 21-year-old man after he allegedly organized a large gathering at a local parking lot. Global Kingston

A 21-year-old Belleville man is facing a fine after he allegedly organized a party in a local parking lot, willfully ignoring social distancing regulations recently enacted in order to fight the spread of COVID-19, police say.

This is the first charge of its kind laid in the Belleville area, police said Monday.

On Sunday, Belleville police say they received multiple calls about a gathering of people in a parking lot on Millennium Parkway.

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When police arrived, they counted about 25 people gathered closely around vehicles, smoking and socializing. The government of Ontario recently prohibited any groups more than five in public places through the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

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When police warned the group they were not following social distancing rules, police said several in the group were not receptive to the warnings.

One member of the group said they organized the gathering, so police charged him with failing to comply with an order made during a declared emergency.

With surcharges, the man will be forced to pay a fine of $880.

The rest of the group were cautioned and ordered to leave the parking lot.

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