Barrie police caution Meridian Place anti-lockdown protesters may face fines and court dates

• From the Barrie Police Service

The Barrie Police Service is aware that another demonstration is being planned for Meridian Place this coming Saturday and hope that those who may be considering attending respect provincial orders, abide by local public health guidelines, and simply reconsider their plans.
This past week has seen a significant increase in the number of positive COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations across the province, and in the number of deaths. The Stay-at-Home order issued by the Ontario government remains in place and there exists a strong possibility that this type of large gathering could serve as a source of transmission for the virus.
Over the past number of weeks, there has been a gradual increase in the number of people attending the demonstrations being held at Meridian Place and this is a trend that is expected to continue despite all the restrictions.
Previous protests at Meridian Place have been peaceful assemblies without criminal offences occurring. Keeping our community, including our police officers, safe against criminal acts is an important consideration when allowing an unlawful gathering to continue or not.
The Barrie Police Service will be present to monitor and ensure Saturday’s event is a peaceful gathering however protestors may be subject to provincial offence notices with fines and/or court date requirements. 
Members of the community who are not in agreement of the protest are encouraged to avoid Meridian Place and surrounding area during the expected peaceful assembly. Organizers are advertising that the demonstration will occur between 12-1:30 p.m. Communication through our social media platforms will be utilized to update our community as to when the area has cleared.
“We know that most of our community are doing their best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to keep people healthy and to end the restrictions as quick as possible. We thank those that are following the rules and respecting public health recommendations” says Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood. 

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