As part of Ontario’s state of emergency order, the government has prohibited organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people.
The measure was introduced on March 29 and in the days to follow, wide-spread confusion began circulating on social media over whether or not you could be fined for having more than five people in a vehicle.
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Questions were raised after a photo of a ticket someone claimed to receive began circulating online. According to the photo, someone said police reportedly pulled over a vehicle in Scarborough and determined the two people in the car were not related and issued a ticket for $880. They claimed it was for violating the rules of social distancing under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
A friend sent me a pic of this today. Their friend was driving a non-family member (police asked both for proof of residence) & fined for not #SocialDistancing.This happened in #Scarborough. #covid19 #coronavirus #toronto #ontario #canada #COVID19toronto #COVID19ON #CanadaCovid19 pic.twitter.com/1kpfZSlThg
— JF Garrard (@JFGarrard) March 31, 2020
However, Toronto police have since issued a statement to clarify the misinformation and said that travelling or being parked in a car, with five people or less – including individuals from different home addresses – is not against the law.
“Members of the public are reminded that government directives apply to “organized public events and social gatherings” of more than five people,” said police.
Police also reminded the public of the ordered closures of the following locations:
- All facilities providing indoor recreational programs
- All public libraries
- All private schools as defined in the Education Act
- All licensed child care centres
- All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery
- All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies
- Concert venues
- All City-owned playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor exercise equipment and other parks amenities, as well as parking lots attached to its parks system
Any questions about organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people or open businesses that should be closed can be addressed by calling 311.
According to the province, implementing the stronger action of prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people was required to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.
This order does not apply for households of more than five people.