Niagara police warn of COVID-19 fines for unlawful New Year’s revellers

Niagara Falls fireworks at a celebration Public celebrations in years past during New Year's Eve in Niagara Falls are full of crowds, but they are largely cancelled during the lockdown

The Niagara police is discouraging New Year’s revelry this year with a province-wide lockdown in place starting Oct. 26 saying there will be zero tolerance around emergency order infractions.

in a new advisory, Niagara Regional Police Service said it is working collaboratively with municipal and regional by-law enforcement to “ensure a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 Emergency Order infractions.”

A province-wide shutdown will come into effect as of Dec 26 at 12:01 a.m. for all of Niagara and the rest of Ontario to battle rising COVID-19 cases in the province and in the region.

Traditionally regional residents and out-of-region visitors flock to New Year’s celebrations in the Niagara Region and specifically in Niagara Falls. “This year, 2020 COVID 19 safety precautions have had significant impacts on New Year’s Eve,” a police advisory said.

It listed some of the cancellations that draw crowds.

  • There is no planned concert in Victoria Park in Niagara Falls.
  • Casinos are closed.
  • There are no fireworks.
  • Non-essential businesses in the tourist area of Niagara Falls are closed.
  • There is no indoor or outdoor dining at restaurants. Takeout and delivery will continue.

It said the annual New Year’s Eve RIDE Program will also be conducted by police.

NRPS said its 2 District Niagara Falls office has learned “that local residents and people from the GTA are attempting to book hotel rooms for the night. A number of local hotels have hired NRPS officers to assist with COVID-19safety enforcement.”

Gatherings of persons from outside the same household are not permitted, except for organized events such as 10-person weddings.

Attendees of unlawful events can be fined $880 under provincial restrictions. Organizers can face fines of $10,000. The NRPS said that large groups in hotel rooms are also subject to being evicted.

Individuals planning or organizing gatherings with persons outside their immediate household are subject to a fine of $10,000.

Learn more about lockdown rules on this page