The City of Toronto has begun issuing fines for those who are using park amenities previously shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 is a deadly virus. It has killed more than 35,000 people around the world, including six Toronto residents,” Mayor John Tory said on Monday.
“People were playing soccer at the Weston Lions Park and at Humberline Park having climbed over fences and gates that were locked there to keep people out during this health emergency. Others were using the fitness stations at Sunnyside Park which had been clearly signed and taped off pursuant to legal orders.”
Tory said by not respecting physical distancing advice from health officials, it risks the further spread of COVID-19.
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Recently City of Toronto crews taped off playgrounds, installed signage about the COVID-19 pandemic, and locked off parking lots and dog parks when possible.
In response to crowds gathering at parks on weekends, Tory said more parking lots were being blocked off as police and parks staff blitzed hotspots.
“While we always try to persuade and educate people, as we’ve been trying to do from the beginning, I’m afraid the time is up for those who don’t want to listen or don’t care,” he said.
“For them, we won’t hesitate to issue a minimum $750 fine and potentially as high as $5,000 fines so that maybe they will get the message.”
The move comes after the Ontario government prohibited, as of Sunday, gatherings of more than five people (except for those who are related).
As of Monday afternoon, the Ontario government said there were 1,706 cases of COVID-19 in the province. In total, 33 Ontario residents have died and 431 cases have been deemed resolved.
Toronto Public Health officials said there were 591 confirmed cases in the city. Sixty-seven of those people are currently in hospital. Of the confirmed cases, officials said 24 per cent are believed to have been acquired through community spread.
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