A “large” church gathering was held over the weekend in Bracebridge and resulted in a pastor being fined. 

A member of the public complained to the Bracebridge OPP around 11 AM on Sunday. The service was being done in a warehouse on Monica Lane. “Officers attended the location and found a large group of people inside for a religious gathering, not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing,” Constable Samantha Bigley says. “This was not in compliance with the restrictions found within the Reopening Ontario Act.

While on the scene, officers attempted to educate the people involved and have them leave the premises, but the pastor refused to cooperate. Bigley says he was issued a provincial offence notice for failing to comply with order 10(1) under the Reopening Ontario Act, which is a $750 fine. She adds that no attendees were fined.

Officers gave the attendees and pastor multiple opportunities to disperse, but no one did, which is why a fine was given, according to Bigley. 

“We understand that the rules seem to be continually changing and people are adjusting,” she says about the approach the detachment has been taking. “Most often when we offer that education and the opportunity to just disperse, people will do just that. They’re usually very cooperative. That wasn’t the case Sunday.”

Bigley asks that the community voluntarily comply with the new restrictions in place and do their part to limit transmission of COVID-19.