Mayor John Tory signed a new bylaw allowing a fine of up to $5,000 for two or more people who do not stand two meters apart in parks and public squares, enforcing physical distancing.
This would not apply to anyone living in the same household, and the new bylaw enforcement will be effective immediately.
On Thursday, the mayor said that the measures will be put in place for the next 30 days to “drive home the message that people have to keep their distance to avoid the spreading of COVID-19.”
Tory said that law enforcement will be patrolling the streets to educate individuals who are in violation of physical distancing measures.
“This is a deadly virus and we have seen a surge of cases in places like New York City. We must do everything we can to stop the spread in the weeks and months ahead,” Tory said.
He added that the city will be doing an ongoing enforcement blitz in parks and public spaces to ensure residents are following the law.
So far, the city has placed 15 sets of concrete blocks at parking lot entrances to stop individuals and groups from entering parks.
The measure was introduced after the city discovered that signs and barricades were taken down at Sunnyside Park parking lot, where groups of people were seen congregating.
“This is not acceptable, it’s puts all of our health at risk,” Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa said. “Taking down barricades at parks is not physical distancing.”
De Villa confirmed the coronavirus case numbers in the city, stating there are 897 cases of which 727 are confirmed and 170 are probable.
There are 86 patients hospitalized, with 39 in ICU.
Around 26% can be attributed to community spread with a total of 11 deaths in the city so far.
“The spread of the virus and the amount of time we have to keep up with all the measures, all of this is in our hands. As soon as we comply with these measures, the sooner we can make it through this challenge together. Please stay home, stay safe, and take care of each other,” de Villa said.
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On Wednesday, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is enacting enhanced measures to “aggressively halt” the spread of COVID-19, and that physical distancing will continue for the next 12 weeks.
The measures are in place to reduce the number of deaths, protect the health care system, and ensure that the economy can rebound more quickly.
The city has been in a state of emergency since March 23.