Timmins resident and police hope people 'wake up' and follow COVID-19 health rules
TIMMINS -- Timmins police say until this past weekend, they haven't had too much trouble with people not following COVID-19 health safety rules.
However, three recent incidents have worn out their patience. Police had to break up two parties and remind business owners about the importance of physical distancing at their establishments.
As more reports come out across the province about big social gatherings, such as the one in Wasaga Beach on the weekend, Timmins police say they are finding that the young people locally are also contributing to the problem.
On Friday, they got a call about a house party on Mountjoy Street South where there were more than 10 young people in attendance. A ticket was issued for breaking the city's noise bylaw.
Police said they also had to bust up a pit party in an area close to the city where there were more than 60 people present. It happened on Saturday and police said it was mostly teenagers. No charges were laid, but officials said patience is wearing thin.
"We are effectively drawing our line in the sand to say we have been more than patient and this is not something that can be ignored any longer. The numbers in Ontario are severe," said Marc Depatie, communications coordinator for the Timmins Police Service.
The high numbers also have Timmins resident Keith Duhan concerned.
He said he's been seeing youth crowding at a local Tim Hortons coffee shop during the lunch hour and took a photo and sent it to CTV News hoping it would make people and businesses think twice about following public health measures.
"Hopefully, this type of thing might be a wake-up call. That's all you can hope for. You get through it by working together not working in factions," said Duhan
"We're hopeful that these businesses take their responsibility seriously as well and they get their house in order," said Depatie.
The restaurant is located near several schools and one school board official has asked businesses to call them if they're having compliance issues.
"Our students are living up to our expectations. If there are any concerns, please let us know. We really value the relationship we have with our community members and our business partners, so if something's not going as smooth as it needs to, let us know and we'll work on that," said Lesleigh Dye, director of education for District School Board Ontario North East.
A spokesperson for Tim Hortons released this statement to CTV News on Wednesday:
"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim Hortons and our 1,500 restaurant owners have worked to implement new procedures and standards to help protect the health and safety of guests and team members including increased sanitization, PPE, social distancing decals and more.
"The re-opening of schools has contributed to busier lunch-hour traffic. The Tim Hortons restaurant owner on Airport road in Timmins has gone the extra mile by having an additional team member available to help monitor the influx of guests at lunch to ensure they are social distancing, wearing masks and regulating the amount of people in the restaurant at once.
"The vast majority of guests are respectful of the necessary restrictions in place due to COVID-19 and are fully cooperating with team members during these difficult times. We thank our guests for their patience and understanding."
Police say the education period is over and fines will now be issued. They encourage everyone to get familiar with COVID-19 health rules.