The City of Toronto announced it would be closing all parks and playgrounds effective immediately as part of the continuing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Fines will be issued for anyone who tries to enter the now-gated public spaces, and fines can be as high as $5,000, according to Chief Matthew Pegg.
This includes 1,500 parks in the city as well as, playgrounds, fitness equipment, sports courts, leash free zones, picnic shelters, sports fields, skateboard parks, and other facilities.
There will be signs immediately posted to the parks for residents to know the new safety measures.
Mayor John Tory also shared the closure news on social media.
“Today, the City of Toronto is announcing that all City-owned playgrounds and other parks amenities will be closed effective immediately, as part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Today, the City of Toronto is announcing that all City-owned playgrounds and other parks amenities will be closed effective immediately, as part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. https://t.co/tvXeZqUB9C
— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 25, 2020
“Our parks are so important to get some relief from the conditions in our city, But playgrounds are also gathering places. The more people gather more COVID-19 will spread,” Tory said in a online message.
On Wednesday, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eileen de Villa said the decision was made after residents were not seen to be practicing physical distancing in public spaces.
“We still wanted people to enjoy the public amenities but had to close them when were saw people were not keeping a distance of six feet apart,” she said.
As of March 25, Toronto confirmed three more deaths in the city as cases spike to 319 residents.
One of the deaths was an elderly man who had preexisting conditions and presented himself to North York General Hospital. The other two patients were residents of Seven Oaks long-term care home.
She also noted there are 39 new cases with 22 hospitalized and 16% contracting the virus from community spread.