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COVID-19: Ottawa bylaw lays 9 social gathering charges on 1st weekend of Ontario reopening

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Ottawa bylaw officers busted a number of outdoor gatherings in city parks over the weekend while retailers and restaurants were largely complying with the rules of Ontario’s first-step COVID-19 reopening plan.

Roger Chapman, director of Ottawa’s bylaw and regulatory services department, told Global News in a statement that officers responded to 92 requests for service between June 11 and 13 as the province relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to allow patio dining, limited capacity in non-essential retail and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people.

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Bylaw issued 10 charges over the weekend, nine of which were tied to social gatherings, Chapman said.

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Three of those social events were in private residences but the remainder pertained to gatherings of more than 10 in city parks.

Three of those gatherings were held in Millennium Park in Orléans over the course of Saturday and Sunday.

A verbal warning was also issued at Mooney’s Bay on Saturday, which was subject to earlier closing hours after the ward’s councillor said he had heard a long list of complaints from residents, including partying and fireworks at the beach.

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Officers issued a total of four verbal warnings under the provincial order over the weekend and laid no charges for violations of the temporary mask bylaw in Ottawa.

Two restaurants were given verbal warnings for issues related to physical distancing and mask use.

One shopping mall retailer was charged on Friday for opening up for in-store shopping despite not having direct street access, Chapman said.

The Ottawa Police Service, which said it would be stepping up patrols over the weekend in parks and beaches, as well as in the ByWard Market and downtown Rideau areas, did not report any major incidents over the weekend. A spokesperson with the OPS said a few tickets were issued for open liquor consumption.

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