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The Weather Network
Sep. 24, 2020 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Birthday party hostess ticketed by town

Dear editor:

Your June 4 edition's front page showed a charming photo and story of a group of neighbours who gather daily, maintaining the required physical distance, to celebrate front-line workers. 

Presumably, the 13 people in the photo were "legal" as they were on a park area in front of their houses, and not on their own small lawns.

Contrast this to a carefully orchestrated 90th birthday on May 7, held in front of a friend's garage, to which the various guests were given different, specific times when to arrive and leave. 

However, we slipped up – when the contract bylaw enforcement officer arrived there were six of us on the driveway, many feet apart. 

He could have simply said one of us had to leave or stand on the sidewalk, but instead gave our hostess a ticket for over $800. 

When the officer arrived, he asked us to confirm if the six of us all lived at that address and when we said no, politely went over the rule about a maximum of five at gatherings. I don't remember the order of everything, just a few points:

* When asked, he said he didn't have to wear a mask because he was outside. (This became a rules consistency issue later when he took the driver's licence directly from the hand of the shaken hostess. He was less than six feet away and not wearing a mask when the licence was passed hand-to-hand. I think this contravenes the guidelines.)

* He said he was there because there had been a complaint. Not a huge surprise, as cars had been arriving one or two at a time for two or three hours, for people to stay their alloted 15 minutes, and not many neighbours had  been invited.

* When asked, he said he had discretion as to whether to fine us all individually or not, but no discretion about giving the host a ticket. I haven't researched this, but it sounds unlikely.

Of course, these are tough and uncharted times.  Even so, it is too much to ask for some logic and reasonableness, perhaps even compassion?

Daryl Novak