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132 warnings, 1 charged as sunny weekend sees more residents flout emergency act restrictions in London

FILE.
FILE. Matt Cardy/Getty Images

It was a beautiful weekend in London, but unfortunately, Mayor Ed Holder notes it was also a busy weekend for bylaw officers dealing with those violating restrictions in place due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The temperature climbed to nearly 20 C on Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday also offering sunny skies. Amid the warm weather, city bylaw officers issued over 100 warnings and laid a single charge.

READ MORE: Archived: Live updates on coronavirus in Canada

“We actually issued 132 warnings to people who were having a rest on a bench, minors kicking a ball around, and parents with small children in a park,” Mayor Ed Holder said in a media briefing Monday afternoon.

“One charge was issued to an individual who scaled a fence to get onto a locked soccer field.”

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Holder added that bylaw officers expressed “thoughtful restraint” in issuing warnings rather than fines.

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“You hope that one warning is sufficient, but that’s not insignificant as a number. We want better weather but we want less warnings and tickets when we can.”

Medical officer of health, Dr. Chris Mackie, said now is not the time to let up on physical distancing measures.

“I do worry when I look out at a park on a Sunday afternoon, as I did this Sunday, and there are hundreds of people on the path. People need to get out, people need to get exercise, but people need to keep their distance.”

On March 27, the city announced it was partnering with the London Police Service (LPS) and the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) to launch a tipline to crack down on those flouting provincial orders and municipal closures under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In its first weekend in operation, the tipline drew in over 600 emails.

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While Ontario has begun lessening some restrictions, a state of emergency remains in effect until at least mid-May and health officials are reminding everyone to practise physical distancing to continue to slow the spread of the virus.

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