46 COVID-19 enforcement actions reported in Waterloo Region

Officials reported another 46 COVID-19 enforcement actions in Waterloo Region.

Regional Chair Karen Redman said 42 were handed out between April 22 and 28, while the other four were from the previous reporting period.

Vivo Pizza + Pasta in Waterloo was given a $1,130 fine for not complying with mask use.

Bylaw officers issued six tickets in Cambridge, seven in Kitchener and three in Waterloo, all for gatherings at private residences. All those tickets were for $880.

Waterloo bylaw officers handed out nine other tickets, including three summons to appear in court for failing to comply with the stay-at-home order and six summons to appear in court for failing to comply with gathering provisions. Any fines will be determined by the courts, according to Redman.

Waterloo regional police issued nine tickets to people at Trinity Bible Chapel for attending a gathering exceeding limit sizes.

Bylaw officers also issued seven summons to appear in court at the church, one to Trinity Bible Chapel itself and six to church elders.

A judge granted a temporary injunction on Friday afternoon to lock the church's doors.

Grand River Transit security issued a ticket at Frederick Station and another at Ainslie Terminal for people failing to comply with a face covering bylaw. Each ticket was $240.

Special constables at Wilfrid Laurier University issued a $880 ticket for a gathering at a student residence.

Police Chief Bryan Larkin spoke about the enforcement actions at this week's COVID-19 briefing, saying this was the highest week-to-week increase in enforcement actions he'd seen so far.

Larkin also discussed the integrated COVID-19 enforcement team that launched last week.

"All of us very much want to ensure we are able to support our health-care system and those that are involved in health-care work," he said.

He said the specialized team will focus on enforcement while emergency orders remain in place.

"This is a delicate balance for policing and a delicate balance for public safety," Larkin said.

He added that while police are still looking to engage, educate and explain, they're more likely to perform enforcement actions when people aren't complying with the rules.

Larkin discussed large gatherings, including anti-lockdown rallies in Uptown Waterloo, that have occurred in the region over the past few weekends, saying some charges have already been laid and more are expected in the future.

"We look at public safety and we also look at the balancing of the constitutional right, which is one of democracy, which is protest," he said. "We do reach out and we do engage those that are coordinating and organizing the protest, we do encourage deferral."

He also said other communities across Ontario are dealing with similar gatherings, and said some of the people gathering in Waterloo Region may have come from other communities.