Monday, March 8, 2021

Charge laid after a large gathering at a Wheatley church service

A charge has been laid following a church service in Wheatley.

Chatham-Kent Police Service officials allege yesterday morning, December 26, 2020, shortly after 11 a.m. police responded to the report of a large gathering at the Old Colony Mennonite Church in Wheatley.

“Upon police arrival, officers observed over 100 unmasked people inside the church,” police officials said in a media release.

“The current regulations for religious services only allows for 10 people indoors. The Municipal By-law also states that masks are required during worship.

Police officials say a member of the church, a 50-year-old Merlin man, took responsibility for the gathering and was charged with failing to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order, contrary to section 10(1)(a) of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

He will be required to attend court on January 27, 2021, police say.

“Everyone complied with the officers’ requests to end the church service early and leave the property,” police officials say.

A province-wide shutdown took effect on Saturday, December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m and Chatham-Kent has entered the ‘Grey-Lockdown’ tier of the ‘Keeping Ontario Safe and Open’ framework for a period of 28 days, police say.

“The Chatham-Kent Police would like to remind everyone that restrictions have been implemented by the provincial government to halt the spread of COVID-19,” police officials say.

“As a community, it’s imperative that everyone does their part to keep the citizens of Chatham-Kent safe and healthy.”

Police officials say to learn more about the province-wide shutdown, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-provincewide-shutdown or https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/20r17.

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