More than 100 people discovered at indoor Etobicoke birthday party busted by Toronto police over the weekend
Published Monday, November 16, 2020 10:40PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 17, 2020 5:51PM EST
Toronto police carrying out COVID-19 enforcement over the weekend discovered more than 100 people celebrating a birthday party in an Etobicoke storage locker.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who also serves as the city’s general manager of emergency management, described the incident at a news conference Monday where he reviewed the city’s enforcement activities from over the weekend.
“Upon arrival, Toronto Police officers observed in excess of 100 people in attendance,”Pegg said.
Toronto is currently in the red zone of the tiered provincial reopening system, which means that indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.
That means the party, which was held in the area of Bloor Street West and Kipling Avenue, had more than 10 times the current allowance for indoor gatherings.
“In addition to this party being shut down as a result of violations of the COVID-19 regulations and orders, charges under the Reopening Ontario Act were also laid against the organizer of this party,” Pegg said.
“Further, the storage unit that had been rented to host this party was not designed, nor equipped for this purpose. As such, follow-up inspections are ongoing with respect to compliance with Ontario building code and Ontario fire code requirements.”
Tightened COVID-19 restrictions are currently in place across most of the GTA as case numbers soar, threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system.
Those violating the regulations could face fines of up to $5000 for an individual and up to $25,000 for a business.
However Pegg said most businesses continue to follow the rules.
“It is important to note that in our experience, the vast majority of the businesses in Toronto have been and continue to be in compliance with the regulations,” he said.
A proactive blitz at 80 establishments in Toronto's Entertainment District this past weekend found 71 businesses to be in compliance with the regulations, Pegg said. Five charges were laid for noncompliant indoor dining and four warning letters were issued.
Enforcement officers also handed out 31 tickets and 13 cautions for illegal activity on Toronto beaches.
Including the Etobicoke birthday bash, the city responded to a total of 25 complaints about gatherings on private property over the weekend.
“I want to thank every resident and business owner of the city who continues to do the right thing as we all work together to stop the spread of COVID 19,” Pegg said.
Toronto saw 508 new cases of COVID-19 Monday according to provincial data. According to the city, 176 people are currently hospitalized with the illness in Toronto.