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COVID-19-related charges laid at 12 more Hamilton homes, but private yard sales get green light

Paul Johnson, director of Hamilton's emergency operations centre, says there will be more outdoor recreation opportunities starting next week. City of Hamilton on YouTube

As COVID-19 public health restrictions continue, including ones involving gathering sizes that have led to fines, Hamilton residents might be wondering what the rules are for yard sales as we head into the summer months.

Emergency Operations Director Paul Johnson has clarified that piece during the city’s weekly COVID-19 update.

“We know that this is a time of year where these things are going to happen.” said Johnson, “the one parameter is that we can’t have community sales where people take over streets or take over public space and bring lots of folks together.”

“If people do have it on their private property” that’s fine, added Johnson.

Read more: Ontario step closer to reopening plan as COVID-19 stay-at-home order set to end

He does stress that “they are responsible to keep within the guidelines provincially,” which includes capping the number of visitors at five, at any given time, and “ensuring that those folks keep an appropriate distance away from each other.”

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Over the past week in Hamilton, bylaw enforcement officers have laid charges at 12 private residences and one business for violating COVID-19 orders.

The business, a bar in the city’s north end, has been cited by the City of Hamilton for hosting an indoor social gathering in violation of the Reopening Act of Ontario.

“This is a business that has had charges in the past,” said Johnson, “we are reviewing this and reviewing the business licence, as well.”

Read more: Ontario reports under 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for first time in nearly 3 months

Johnson added that all charges issued at private homes were in response to complaints, “neighbours see lots of cars attending, and lots of people going into a residence, they alert us.”

“These are birthday parties, private gatherings, those types of things that are going on,” said Johnson. “We’ve had baby showers in the past, we’ve had engagement parties.”

He stresses that the COVID-19 enforcement focus is on those gatherings because “the transmission becomes much more risky when you’re talking about prolonged connection with people in an indoor environment.”

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