OTTAWA -- The City of Kingston says bylaw and police together laid more than 50 charges against people for violations of COVID-19 restrictions.

In a press release, the City said bylaw officers filed 31 charges under the Reopening Ontario Act related to indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people. The charges relate to investigations that began in November and continued into December.

Each Part 3 Summons under the Reopening Act includes a minimum $10,000 fine upon a conviction. The individuals who received the Part 3 Summons will need to appear before a Justice of the Peace in the new year.

Kingston police laid 19 charges under the Reopening Ontario Act and also issued one fine under the Quarantine Act, the City said. Of the 19 charges issued by Kingston police, eight were for hosting parties and 11 were for attending an illegal gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Municipal officials say of the gatherings involved as many as 100 people.

"We’re seeing gatherings well over the provincially mandated minimums, with our officers sometimes dispersing 50 to 100 people," said Kyle Compeau, Manager of Licensing and Enforcement for the City of Kingston in a press release. "Positive cases in Kingston have been connected to these sorts of gatherings. They are illegal because they can spread COVID-19 to a large number of people very quickly.”

The Kingston area has been seeing increasing spread of COVID-19 and several significant outbreaks. Earlier this week, the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health (KFLAPH), Dr. Kieran Moore, said the region could be in line for increased restrictions from the province.

"We're knocking on the door of red in our rates," Dr. Moore said. KFLAPH is currently in the "Yellow-Protect" category under Ontario's COVID-19 response framework.