Toronto Mayor John Tory penned a letter urging bylaw and police to write more tickets for people not following physical distancing in the city’s parks and public spaces, saying the time for education has passed.
“We have reports of everything from bonfires on the beach to hanging out in groups inparking lots to playing pickup sports in closed areas, all of which involve groups of people who don’t live with each other and thus could spread the virus,” Tory wrote to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders and Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards Carleton Grant.
Stressing that he cannot directly instruct either Chief Saunders or Director Grant on what to do, Tory told CP24 Saturday he wants tougher enforcement because the city doesn’t have any more time to lose.
“We can’t have people mystified about this anymore,” Tory said Saturday morning. “We have to have people not standing in groups, we have to have people preferably staying home, but if they’re going to have a dog walk they should do it with the distance of two metres between each other.”
City police and bylaw officers have issued 79 tickets and written cautions for not observing physical distancing in public spaces since April 4.
But 311 has received several thousand complaints this month from people witnessing others congregating close together in groups.
The fine for not staying two metres apart from those not in your household is $1,000.
Approximately 360 police and bylaw enforcement officers have been patrolling city parks over the April long weekend.
Areas targeted for enforcement include major parks such as Christie Pits, Humber Bay East, High Park, Woodbine Beach, Allan Gardens, Bluffer’s Park and Trinity Bellwoods.
Seventy-seven Toronto residents have died of the virus so far and more than 1,800 other have been infected.