Officials investigating anti-lockdown rally in Uptown Waterloo
KITCHENER -- Bylaw officers are investigating a rally in Uptown Waterloo over the weekend.
Hundreds of people gathered in Public Square on Sunday, holding signs and calling for an end to pandemic restrictions in Ontario.
Current public health orders prohibit gathering with people outside of your household, both indoors and outdoors.
"It was certainly disappointing," said Nicole Papke, the director of municipal enforcement services with the City of Waterloo. "We understand the frustration that small businesses feel and that was sort of what this rally was apparently about. Unfortunately, it was apparent that public health guidelines were not being followed."
According to a social media post, the rally was meant to show support for businesses forced to close under the latest stay-at-home order.
Giuseppe Barranca attended Sunday's rally.
"I feel helpless," he said. "I am pro ending the lockdown. I am happy with all of the measures in place to provide a safe dining experience, to provide a safe hair appointment experience."
Papke said the event was relatively peaceful. Officials are working to determine who organized the event and if they will face any charges.
"Potentially there are charges under the COVID legislation," Papke said. "It could be a ticket and the total ticket is $750, with the victim surcharge it typically totals around $880."
"There were not a lot of masks or social distancing, so that piece was very unfortunate for us to observe."
The rally took place during a spike in COVID-19 cases across Ontario, including record-setting daily case increases and hospitalizations.