London

2 women fined following St. Paddy's Day party

A pair of 21-year-old women have been fined after hosting an indoor gathering exceeding provincial guidelines on St. Patrick's Day.

The gathering took place on Broughdale Avenue

Patios in downtown London were full on St. Patrick's Day. Police said all establishments that were checked were complying with COVID-19 rules. (Sara Jabakhanji/ CBC News)

A pair of 21-year-old women have been fined after hosting a gathering that exceeded provincial guidelines on St. Patrick's Day.

The City of London released an update Wednesday, saying bylaw officers issued two provincial offence notices after investigating an indoor gathering of more than 10 people on Broughdale Avenue, a popular post-secondary student party street. 

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, those who host gatherings exceeding provincial guidelines can face a minimum fine of $10,000 if convicted. 

"Gathering limits are in place for the well-being of our community, and we will not hesitate to take available enforcement actions when our community is put at risk," said Orest Katolyk, the city's chief bylaw officer.

"The minimum fine, as set by the Province, clearly indicates the seriousness of the offence."

At the time of the gathering, the region was in the orange zone of the province's pandemic framework. Under that level of restrictions, gatherings were capped at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. 

This is the first set of fines issued during this year's St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

The day saw a swarm of students in green pack downtown patios and bars, but police had said COVID-19 rules were being followed at establishments.

During the day, unlike pre-pandemic years, popular party streets like Broughdale Avenue were nearly empty, with just a few post-secondary students celebrating outside their homes. 

The following day, London police said they attended a total of 48 addressees after reports of noise or gathering sizes. Two people had been charged with liquor offences, while bylaw offences were being investigated. 

Since St. Patrick's Day, provincial rules have changed in Middlesex-London. The region moved into the red zone of the province's framework, where gatherings are now limited to five people indoors and 25 outdoors. 

As of Wednesday, there were 505 active cases in the region as well as a number of outbreaks, including four across different Western University residences.

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