Social gatherings of more than 5 on the rise, police say
Yeah yeah yeah. We all want to see our families and friends and to have the normal lives we had a few months ago. But we also have rules for a reason, even if some of them, like the one where public gatherings will be limited to ten people but churches can open at 30 percent capacity regardless of how many people can fit in the building don’t always make a whole lot of sense.
I talked to a friend yesterday and he told me a story about some of his daughter’s teenage pals. A bunch of them got tired of just hanging around and figured that they would join the growing ranks of folks who have decided that the rules don’t apply to them. We’re going to live our lives like always, they thought. Well, three of them have since tested positive for COVID. So yeah, see rules, reason for.
Again, I realize that this isn’t always easy. But please, try to think beyond yourself. Somewhere out there you likely have people you care about and who care about you. If you really do care about those people, then you owe it to them not to be that guy.
But throughout the months of April and May, Waterloo Regional Police received 69 calls for reported gatherings of more than five people. Two thirds of those calls were reported in April. During that month, police counted 140 people who were gathering in groups larger than five and breaking the provincial order.
In May, police spoke to 259 people in 25 reported large-gathering calls. Police media officer Ashley Dietrich said these numbers don’t capture the whole story, as officers aren’t always able to count all the people at these gatherings.
Officers saw a spike in the size during the week of Victoria Day, May 17-23. During that week police were only called to eight gatherings, but officers counted 94 people involved.
Police have only issued one ticket in connection with breaking the provincial order on gathering in groups larger than five. The price of the ticket is $750.
City of Kitchener spokesperson Shawn Falcao said bylaw officers have been seeing an increase in the number of complaints of larger social gatherings at private residences.
Many of the complaints are about birthday parties, barbecues, or people having friends or family over to visit. On May 31, the city issued a ticket for a gathering that saw more than 30 people at a private residence.