BARRIE, ONT. -- Provincial police laid several charges at an anti-lockdown protest in Midland, Ont.

The OPP says several people gathered on park property at the harbour front on Saturday, resulting in seven individuals charged with failing to comply with an order made during a declared emergency.

Provincial police encourage residents to follow the provincial stay-at-home order or face hefty fines.

While police say they respect the right to protest, they add it's important to abide by the province's COVID-19 restrictions and public health guidelines under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Re-opening Ontario Act.

Ontario implemented the stay-at-home order as COVID-19 cases increased and hospital officials spoke out about the "dire situation" with ICU capacity and staff fatigue.

"This is an overwhelming situation for health care, and I strongly encourage everyone that this is a crisis, and we all need to work together through this, "said Carmine Stumpo, the president and CEO of Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital, on Wednesday.

Individuals who fail to follow an order could face a $750 fine and potentially a $1,000 for preventing others from following an order.

Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for a corporation, plus the possibility of prosecution or jail time.

Meanwhile, the OPP asks that 911 be used only in the event of an emergency. To report a gathering or demonstration, contact your local bylaw enforcement or police service.