BARRIE, ONT. -- The City of Barrie plans to get tough on the anti-lockdown gatherings happening at Meridian Place each weekend.

The protests bring hundreds of people together, many not wearing face masks or social distancing as per provincial requirements.

In a release on Tuesday, the city said, "These gatherings threaten efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our community and may place further strain on our already stretched healthcare system."

This past Saturday, police handed out multiple tickets and took one person into custody at the 'Barrie Freedom Rally' where roughly 400 people gathered.

Health officials with the Simcoe Muskoka health unit said they were working with police to step up enforcement of anyone "not in compliance" with the stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, the city said it was "exploring all available actions to stop these gatherings, including possible court action for an injunction to restrain the organizers."

The province-wide stay-at-home order came into effect on April 8 and will remain in place until at least May 20.