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Coronavirus: City of Hamilton has laid 86 charges over alleged violations of provincial orders

People have already been ticketed for using closed escarpment stairs, trails and golf courses in Hamilton, Ont., during the coronavirus pandemic.
People have already been ticketed for using closed escarpment stairs, trails and golf courses in Hamilton, Ont., during the coronavirus pandemic. Lisa Polewski

A total of 86 charges have been laid by municipal law enforcement in Hamilton, Ont., against businesses and individuals over alleged violations of provincial orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of Hamilton says the majority of those charges — 53 — have been against individuals using amenities that are closed in order to ensure social distancing and control the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

READ MORE: Three fined under COVID-19 emergency orders for golfing on closed Chedoke Golf Course

Those amenities include escarpment stairs, park infrastructure and golf courses, and fines are set by the province at $750.

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Six charges have reportedly been laid for using off-leash dog parks while prohibited, and 12 charges have been laid for gatherings of more than five people in violation of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

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Paul Johnson, the city’s emergency operations director, says seven Hamilton businesses have been charged under the act.

Four of them are non-essential businesses that reportedly chose to operate, while three have been charged for other reasons.

READ MORE: Ontario says COVID-19 community cases peaked. What does that mean for Canada?

Johnson notes that fines can “go into the thousands of dollars depending on whether we feel there was a real desire here to just flaunt the law.”

He adds that every small business would love to be open, but “this is something that we are in together, so it would be unfair to let businesses just sort of skate” around the rules.

Overall, Johnson stresses that the city is seeing “significant compliance” from the community.