Toronto officials condemn 'dangerous' behaviour of people who packed park

Andrew Cummings
May 25, 2020

On one of the first warm days of the year in Toronto, thousands of people chose to abandon social distancing requirements by gathering in a popular downtown park.

Any two or more people who are not members of the same household, and who fail to keep at least two metres of distance between them in a park or public square, can receive a $1,000 fine. "It's just too many people too close".

Ontario reported 460 new cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday morning, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 25,500.

While the majority of the city's almost three million residents have complied with restrictions since the lockdown began in mid-March, Saunders said he also understands that the threat of COVID-19 is invisible to many.

Trinity Bellwoods was one of the problematic parks mentioned where the COVID-19 enforcement team observed crowding as well as public intoxication and unruly behaviour. Toronto Public Health officials have said the continuous uptick in new infections could be the result of families gathering on Mother's Day.

Toronto reopened 850 park amenities Saturday, including picnic shelters, soccer and multi-use outdoor fields, baseball diamonds and basketball courts after more than two months of closure to stop the spread of COVID-19. In Canada, 95 per cent of the 6,200 people killed by the virus are older than 60, with 69 per cent older than 80.

Tory spokesman Don Peat told the TorontoSun the mayor went to the park gain insight on the situation, "consistent with his frequent practice of attending the scenes of major incidents in the city". "They are putting their own health at risk and by risking the spread of the virus to others, they could contribute to the kind of setback we are trying hard to avoid", said Tory.

"These were mistakes that I made and as a leader in this city, I know that I must set a better example going forward".

Even the Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), Jeff McGuire, couldn't help but express his disbelief, tweeting, "Trinity Bellwoods Park Toronto today".

"It's a attractive day out, everyone wants to get out and have a great time. Anything but. Please, we are all in this together".

"They give their life to Quebec".

Chief Mark Saunders was also seen at the park speaking with concerned residents about the almost 10,000 people that gathered there on Saturday.

Seoul Shakers, Pinky's Ca Phe and Hanmoto (all run by the same team) announced yesterday that they were starting up a pilot project to deliver food and drinks to Christie Pits and Trinity Bellwoods Park.

"Witnessing how poorly people were following social distancing rules, if at all, we have chose to put on hold our park deliveries until further notice", the restaurant wrote.

The mayor's office also responded to some criticism about Tory not properly wearing a mask over his face while talking to residents in pictures circulated online.

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