COVID-19: 2 Peterborough homeowners charged for March party involving group of teens

According to Peterborough police, two homeowners were charged under the Reopening Ontario Act for a party involving teens in mid-March. Peterborough Police Service

Two homeowners in Peterborough were charged under the Reopening Ontario Act following a house party last month amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Peterborough Police Service Insp. John Lyons said Thursday that a house party over the weekend of March 13-14 involved up to 14 youth.

Police received a complaint about the party and investigated, he said during Thursday’s briefing by Peterborough Public Health.

Read more: COVID-19: April vaccine supply for Peterborough area ‘nearly all gone’

The homeowners were present at the time of the party. In mid-March Peterborough was under the “red — control” designation of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework which had an indoor limit of five people.

Police said Friday two tickets were laid, each for $880 ($750 fine plus victim surcharge).

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Lyons says the service has received a number of calls regarding enforcement throughout the pandemic and acknowledged the latest provincial stay-at-home order effective Thursday.

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“It is another tough period of time we are going to go through for another month but we all have to do this together in order for this (pandemic) to subside,” he said.

“We’re not going to get there unless we’re all doing this together.”

Lyons says the service will be providing additional officers to deal with “COVID-specific incidents” and work with community partners to educate the public as protocol changes unfold.

“We also understand it can be confusing with so many different levels with the colour levels we’ve been in, lockdowns versus shutdowns,” he said. “Essentially we’re going to try to help people through that.

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“We’re asking for patience and understanding when dealing with these latest measures.”

He says the service will take a “balanced” approach to enforcement of COVID-19 protocols to ensure they’re acting in the best interest of all involved.

Lyons stressed there’s a big difference between “zero tolerance and a warning” as officers investigate incidents at their discretion.

Read more: COVID-19: 1 charged in Cobourg for large gathering outside Victoria Hall

Last week the service said it had concluded its investigation into the Severn Court Student Residence outbreak, resulting in no charges as police said they face challenges due to privacy legislation and medical information. The outbreak in February — linked to parties at the privately-owned residence — claimed the life of a Fleming College student, who officials said did not attend the gatherings.

“Although some people think we should be approaching every situation and charging people, that isn’t always the correct course of action,” he said.

“We will definitely review and judge each situation as it happens. And we will make the appropriate decision based on the facts that are presented. These investigations sometimes happen at the moment, others take time to develop appropriate information to lay a charge.”

Lyons noted police still have regular calls of service to address and says sometimes calls need to be sequenced.

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“We are getting those calls, recording those calls and trying to get to them as quickly as we can.”


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