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Mayor urges residents to avoid public gatherings

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano joins call from police, health unit to avoid public gatherings during stay-at-home order
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FILE PHOTO: Mayor Christian Provenzano. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano is backing the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and Algoma Public Health in its call for the public to refrain from taking part in any public gatherings during the current provincial stay-at-home order. 

Information has been circulating via social media – both in private Facebook groups and public posts – promoting a 'Stand For Freedom' event planned for this Friday at Bellevue Park. The promotional material indicates that "masking is optional" during the family-friendly public gathering, which will apparently include live entertainment and "activities for kids."

“I completely support the message issued by the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and Algoma Public Health. We all have an important role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19, and this specifically includes avoiding public gatherings at this time. Many of us and our fellow community members have made difficult sacrifices to protect each other throughout the pandemic," said Provenzano, in a statement supplied to SooToday Tuesday. "Out of respect for those sacrifices and the provincial law, I urge people not to act in a manner that would jeopardize the health and safety of themselves and their fellow citizens.”

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service is actively investigating planned public gatherings, according to the joint statement from police and Algoma Public Health. 

"In recent days we have been clear with the community, anyone found to be violating the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will be fined accordingly." said Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Hugh Stevenson in the joint statement. "A large public gathering goes directly against the mandate of the EMCPA and its intent which is to ensure the health of our community. Anyone attending an event such as this will be fined."

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, anyone found attending an organized gathering could face a fine of up to $1,000 and anyone found organizing a gathering could face a minimum fine of $10,000.