The Barrie Police Service is asking those who participate in pandemic-related protests in the city’s downtown core to stay home through the latest stay-at-home order.
Over the past several weekends, protesters have gathered at Meridian Place to protest restrictions surrounding the pandemic. Participants have been seen carrying signage expressing anti-mask, anti-lockdown, and anti-government sentiments. Barrie Police say it is hoped these folks will not be there this weekend.
The Service is reminding everyone that under current restrictions, outdoor public gatherings are restricted to essential purposes and are capped at a maximum of five people. “Where necessary, the Barrie Police Service is committed to ensuring that provincial orders are followed, and community safety and public health measures are respected,” reads a statement from Barrie Police.
“While we recognize the right to participate in demonstrations, we are requesting that people abide by and respect provincial orders and public health guidelines that have been implemented to protect everyone, and refrain from gathering.” The Barrie Police Service has previously focused on educating residents of the rules surrounding COVID restrictions instead of enforcing those rules with fines or charges. Friday’s message from the service indicates a change in methodology moving forward.
“With the recent provincial Stay-at-Home order, rising COVID case numbers and increasing pressures on hospitals locally and across Ontario, it is now more important than ever to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and our community members,” concludes the Barrie Police Service statement.