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More charges laid in large gatherings

A second Oshawa male is facing charges after a large gathering that was held in Whitby.

The charges relate to gatherings held on March 20, April 17, April 24, and April 27, 2021, according to Durham Regional Police (DRPS).

The 27-year-old Oshawa male has been charged with four counts hosting or organizing a public event or gathering with a number that exceeds the permitted number, and three counts of failing to comply with an order made during a declared emergency.

On April 17, 2021, around 4 p.m., DRPS, along with Whitby bylaw officers, attended a large gathering at Baycliffe Park, also known as Rocketship Park, in defiance of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).

Police say officers managed the situation in accordance with proper police protocols, taking into account all circumstances and professional considerations, including the safety of a large number of young children who were present at the time.

DRPS Interim Police Chief Todd Rollauer says the vast majority of citizens are respecting current health restrictions intended to protect themselves and their neighbours.

For those who are not in compliance with the rules, Rollauer says the approach has been consistent – engage, educate, and, if all else fails, enforce with charges under the current legislation.

“Since the pandemic began, our officers have engaged appropriately and effectively with literally thousands of Durham residents regarding various health measures designed to protect the community from COVID-19,” he says, noting in all but a few cases, residents have complied without enforcement.

“At the same time, more than 60 offence notices have been issued to those few who have continued to behave in a manner that threatens the health of others in the community,” he adds. “Our officers will continue to respond appropriately to each situation as it occurs.”

DRPS also laid charges against a 48-year-old Oshawa male and 49-year-old Whitby male in relation to the April 17 gathering and others that occurred on March 20 and April 17.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and further charges are being considered.