Gathering of 60, restaurant getting four charges among Toronto bylaw infractions this weekend

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A gathering of up to 60 people and one establishment being hit with four charges were among the incidents in Toronto this Thanksgiving weekend, after Toronto Public Health conducted 46 inspections. 

New restrictions on indoor dining and other measures took effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, with bylaw and TPH staff doing proactive checks in downtown areas such as Queen and King St. W., according to city spokesperson Brad Ross. 

The inspections resulted in 16 warning letters and two charges for non-compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act, along with Toronto Police issuing four charges against one restaurant for exceeding the number of people that can be at one table at a time, not ensuring physical distancing, not ensuring customers are seated and exceeding capacity. 

"We have to remember that when we receive a complaint or when we investigate an issue and find non-compliance, that enforcement officers have the discretion about whether or not to lay a charge or issue a warning letter," Ross said. "Give them an opportunity to come into compliance before laying a charge." 

"At the same time, charges are laid and more than 1,700 charges have been laid since the pandemic began." 

As for gatherings, there were 30 complaints for large gatherings ranging from just over 10 people to upwards of 60, well exceeding the indoor limits of 10 and the outdoor limits of 25. 

Those complaints resulted in 11 letters and two charges. 

But Ross also pointed to the growing issue of bonfires, which are prohibited in Toronto at all times. 

The City says over 80 bonfires were extinguished around the Etobicoke waterfront parks, with eight tickets issued. 

"The weather is getting cooler now and people are going down to the waterfront and lighting bonfires as the evenings get cooler," he said. "With 80 of those, there's a huge risk with regards to safety concern around fires like that so we will continue to proactively enforce that."