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Hamilton Police charge alleged organizers of event protesting COVID-19 measures

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Hamilton Police charge alleged organizers of event protesting COVID-19 measures

Two people have been charged in relation to two events protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Hamilton held over the past two weekends.

In a release sent Tuesday (Jan. 12) Hamilton Police said they have charged the organizers of two Hugs Over Masks events that took place in the area of Bay Street South and Main Street West on Sunday, January 3, 2021, and Sunday, January 10, 2021.

“The events were in protest of the current COVID restrictions,” the release said. “On January 3, 2021, there were over 40 in attendance and on January 10, 2021, there were over 60 in attendance.”

Police say that prior to the event this past Sunday they were able to identify the organizers and informed them that the planned gathering would be breaching offences under the Reopening Ontario Act and that charges would apply.

Despite the warning, the organizers went ahead with the event.

Officers attended both events and confirmed that the number of attendees exceeded the number permitted for an outdoor gathering. The organizers were present at both events.

Police have charged a 27-year-old Hamilton man with:

  • Fail to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 82/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1) – (Court Date: February 10, 2021)
  • Fail to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 82/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1) – (Court Date: February 17, 2021)

Hamilton police have also charged a 38-year-old woman from Brampton with:

  • Fail to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 82/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1) – (Court Date: February 10, 2021)
  • Fail to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 82/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1) – (Court Date: February 17, 2021)

A person convicted of this offence is liable to a minimum fine of $10,000.

“Hamilton Police are reminding the public that participation in such events could result in charges being laid pursuant to the Reopening Ontario Act,” the release said.

“Residents are encouraged to stay at home when ill, maintain a two-metre distance (six feet) from others, wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, wash hands frequently with soap and water, and cover coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

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