Toronto enforcement officers turn away over 900 vehicles from popular parks on first day

Apr 6 2020, 6:35 am

In just the first day of the City of Toronto’s enforcement blitz this weekend, over 900 vehicles were turned away from popular local parks.

According to the city, 800 vehicles were turned away at Bluffers Park and 140 vehicles were deterred from parking at High Park.

Toronto enforcement officers and police continue the blitz of city parks to educate the public and enforce physical distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On Sunday, the City of Toronto reported that the enforcement blitz targets busy parks, particularly the top 10 problem areas observed by City staff and reported to 311.

Earlier in the weekend, on Saturday, the Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) enforcement officers and police spoke with 780 people to educate them on public health recommendations and closures. An additional 373 people were reportedly given a caution.

Police issued nine tickets while MLS officers gave out one ticket related to park amenities and five to non-essential businesses that were operating in violation of provincial orders. Toronto Public Health received 28 complaints related to non-essential businesses remaining open and issued two notices.

Police also issued 19 parking tickets.

Some problem locations still persist with people calling 3-1-1 to file 141 complaints about gatherings and unsafe behaviour at parks.

The Toronto Police Traffic Services said they “continue to support Toronto’s bylaw officers with their enforcement efforts. All City Park parking lots are closed at this time; pay attention to signage or risk tickets and towing.”

On Sunday, Mayor John Tory urged residents to stay at home given the warm weather.

“I know it’s a beautiful spring Sunday but please #StayHomeTO. We are all in this fight against #COVID19 together.”

However, there are reports that many residents are practicing physical distancing and only travelling in small groups from the same household.

In some situations, where enforcement officers must speak to park goers, residents have responded “positively to education about public health recommendations and willingly adjusted their behaviour.”

“The city thanks the vast majority of people who are doing the right thing by staying home as much as possible and keeping their distance from others in public.”

On April 2, 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.

A $1,000 fine was set for violating the bylaw on April 3.

As of April 5, there are 1,232 cases with 69 recovered and 27 deceased in Toronto.