Six $1,500 social distancing tickets given out at Hampstead synagogue

Congregants of a Hampstead synagogue were given fines for social distancing violations on Sunday.

Six people were given $1,546 fines at the private home, which has been used as a synagogue for the past five years, even though the rabbi told CTV News that no official permit to operate as a house of worship has been issued. He added that while the City of Hampstead has never expressed a concern, he does plan on applying for a permit as soon as possible.

Rabbi Daniel Sabbah said police arrived at the synagogue at around 9 a.m., asking to speak to the owner. He said an officer told him if he didn't cooperate, everyone at the synagogue would be fined individually.

Sabbah said many of his congregants quietly left and he believed the police would only ticket him, but five worshippers were each handed fines.

“First of all it was a whole team, they were four cars of SPVM,” he said. “They treated us like we were thieves or something. No matter what you do in life... you can’t force a man not to pray.”

A spokesperson for the SPVM declined to comment on the case, saying he could not provide details due to the synagogue being in a private home.  

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