Canadian bills lose legal tender status and an MPP faces backlash for a Christmas photo: Top stories in Ottawa this week

OTTAWA — Nineteen charges for a private gathering over the Christmas weekend, the U.K. COVID-19 variant detected in Ottawa and an eastern Ontario MPP facing backlash for his family Christmas photo.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top stories on our website this week.

Several old Canadian paper bills lost their legal tender status on New Year’s Day.

The Bank of Canada said hundreds of millions of $1, $2, $25, $500, and $1,000 bills no longer have legal tender status, and merchants no longer have to accept them.

Allanah Rossi is with Universal Coins on Bank Street, and says there are certain notes you may not want to take to the bank – “The $25 commemorative bill is actually exceedingly rare.”

Rossi suggests rare means it could be worth thousands of dollars.

“There are two components to bank notes- it’s their rarity, but also their condition plays an important part.”

Final countdown to spend $1 and $2 dollar bills

Ottawa bylaw officers issued 19 charges for a private gathering at an Ottawa restaurant over the Christmas weekend.

Between Christmas Eve and Monday, Dec. 28, Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services issued two verbal warnings and laid 21 charges related to provincial orders about social gatherings and other activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nineteen charges for a private gathering at a restaurant on Carling Avenue in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act,” Bylaw Director Roger Chapman said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

Chapman did not provide the name of the restaurant or the date of the gathering.

Party

Ontario health officials confirmed a case of the U.K variant of COVID-19 in Ottawa over the Christmas weekend.

Ottawa Public Health told CTV News Ottawa the individual returned from the U.K. on Dec. 19 and had been self-isolating since their return to Canada.

The only high-risk contact was a person who lived with the individual.

Monitoring the U.K. coronavirus variant

Eastern Ontario Independent MPP Randy Hillier faced backlash after sharing a photo of a large family gathering over the holidays, in apparent defiance of provincial lockdown rules.

On Dec. 27, Hillier posted a picture on social media of what appears to be his family celebrating Christmas dinner.

Ontario’s lockdown rules prohibit indoor social gatherings with anyone outside of your household.

On Twitter, many commenters denouncing the independent MPP, saying they have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and calling him stupid and selfish.

But others supported him, wishing Hillier a Merry Christmas and thanking him for taking a stand

Randy Hillier

Eastern Ontario’s top doctor suggested a 28-day lockdown might not be enough to curve the spread of COVID-19, as novel coronavirus cases continued to rise through the week.

On Thursday, Public Health Ontario reported a record 3,328 new cases of COVID-19. A new record 3,363 cases were reported on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said he was discouraged by the rising case counts.

The numbers are going up. I think we need to just continue doing what we’re doing, stay home. It’s disappointing, but again it’s going to take a while for this thing to turn around,” said Dr. Roumeliotis, noting the numbers do not reflect the start of the province-wide shutdown.

“Is a month enough? I’m not even sure now.”

The lockdown is scheduled to last until Jan. 23 for all regions in southern Ontario, including Ottawa and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

Speaking on CTV News at Six on Wednesday, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches admitted the lockdown measures need to remain in place due to an “upturn” in cases.

Ottawa COVID-19 assessment centre

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