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Waterloo police hand out 9 tickets for $750 after Woolwich church opens doors again

Waterloo police hand out 9 tickets for $750 after Woolwich church opens doors again

Waterloo police hand out 9 tickets for $750 after Woolwich church opens doors again image
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Waterloo Regional Police say officers handed out nine tickets outside of the Trinity Bible Chapel after people gathered for Sunday service once again at the church.

“Members of our COVID Integrated Response Team (CIRT) attended the church yesterday and observed Reopening of Ontario Act (ROA) violations,” police spokesperson Cherri Greeno told Global News on Monday.

Read more: Woolwich church faces more charges after ignoring COVID-19 rules once again

“Officers stopped attendees observed leaving the premises and issued appropriate tickets under the ROA.”

Greeno said each of those tickets comes with a price tag of $750.

“Officers ticketed as many as they could and collected evidence to lay further charges later,” she explained.

Click to play video: 2 Toronto police officers charged in relation to gathering at Aylmer church

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued an “emergency brake” on April 1 that limits current capacity at churches to 15 per cent.

A week later, a state of emergency was declared that limits religious services to 10 people.

At the same time, Ford also allowed police officers to perform random spot checks but backtracked a day later, saying the powers limit police to investigating those suspected were attending gatherings.

“This enforcement is a result of recent amendments to provincial legislation that allows officers to stop an individual believed to be violating COVID-19 related orders,” Greeno explained.

“We remain committed to working in partnership with Region of Waterloo bylaw to ensure compliance, as well as the health and safety of the community.”

The church has been opening its doors on and off since Boxing Day.

Recently, Waterloo Region Chair Karen Redman said Trinity Bible Chapel was charged in connection with a service held on April 4.

Those were the first services held at the church since elders were ordered to pay $38,000 last month after they were found in contempt of court.

In addition, they were also ordered by the court to pay another $45,000 in court fees.

The church has been in the news previously — and has even attracted comment from Ford.

A spokesperson for the region says there were two charges laid on Thursday, bringing the total laid by local bylaw and police officers to 26, all of which are before the courts.

Read more: Woolwich pastor faces fine of up to $100,000 for Sunday service ignoring COVID-19 lockdown

“The maximum penalty for organizing an event exceeding capacity limits under the Re-opening of Ontario Act is a minimum fine of $10,000 to a maximum fine of $100,000 for an individual and $100,000 up to $10 million for a corporation upon conviction,” region spokesperson Stacey Abbott told Global News in an email.

The church previously had been fined after holding services despite a stay-at-home order that restricts gatherings, including those at churches, and that began on Boxing Day.

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