'It is unfortunate': Wheatley man charged after large church gathering
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Chatham-Kent police have charged a 44-year-old Wheatley man after a report of a large gathering at the Old Colony Mennonite Church on Wheatley Road.
Officers responded to the report of the gathering on Sunday.
At this time, police say about 87 unoccupied vehicles were seen in the parking lot.
A short time later, officers say several adults and children, exited the church without masks on. At this time, police say they spoke with a member of the church who confirmed that 128 members attended mass. In addition were children who were present in separate classrooms.
“It is unfortunate that some people still choose to not comply with the law considering these laws are put into place for everyone’s safety, including those who choose to break them,” Chief Gary Conn. “This pandemic requires a concerted effort by all our citizens in order to abate and eventually eradicate. It is only through compliance, cooperation and collaboration that we will overcome this virus. I am once again urging citizens to please comply and assist us in helping you.”
The Wheatley man was charged on Tuesday night with failing to comply with a continued 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 364/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10(1). He will be required to attend Provincial Offences Court on May 19.
Under the current provincial COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, religious gatherings indoors are allowed a maximum capacity of 10 people.
It’s not the first time the church has been under investigation. Officers were also called to the church at 22046 Wheatley Road after a report of a large gathering on Dec. 26, 2020. A Wheatley man was charged after police say they found more than 100 unmasked people inside.