Ontario Provincial Police say enforcing physical distancing at a large car meet in Wasaga Beach on Saturday was an impossible task after more than a thousand car enthusiasts flocked to the beach town for an evening of street racing and stunts.
Social media posts from the scene captured footage of the gathering — you can watch some of that in the video below:
Officers from Peel Regional Police, York Regional Police and OPP had been prepared for the event and assisted in enforcing restrictions.
“There was a large police presence because we knew they were coming,” said OPP Sgt. Dan Hunter.
But Hunter said enforcing physical distancing among the “huge” crowd was “not even a possibility.”
Instead, he said police focused on hampering stunt driving and street racing.
They also ordered anyone who didn’t live in the community to leave.
Our <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/partnersinpolicing?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#partnersinpolicing</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/YRP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@YRP</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/PeelPolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@PeelPolice</a> will be assisting in enforcement activities in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WasagaBeach?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WasagaBeach</a> this weekend with many car enthusiasts in town. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/DiveSafe?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#DiveSafe</a> and limit the number of people gathering. ^jf <a href=”https://t.co/odfUXOIzJr”>pic.twitter.com/odfUXOIzJr</a>
Although he didn’t have a specific number, Hunter said multiple charges were laid against individuals who attended the event.
“We did take enforcement action,” he said.
Despite the fact that police were prepared for a large turnout, he said the nature of the gathering was troubling.
“We are obviously concerned, especially since the Reopening Ontario Act and all the limitations that changed on September 19,” Hunter said, referring to the province’s new restrictions on gathering sizes.
Private social gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, though the turnout was much higher at Saturday’s rally.
This comes as Ontario reported 435 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 491 Sunday, the highest number since May 2, when 511 new cases were reported.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, which includes the town of Wasaga Beach, reported eight new cases on Sunday.
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