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.”
. @TorontoPolice @ParkingTPS continue to support the @cityoftoronto By-law Officers with their enforcement efforts. All City Park parking lots are closed at this time; pay attention to signage or risk tickets & towing #COVID-19 #beaches @ShawnaCoxon @TPScott_baptist pic.twitter.com/u2YQRsOhob
— TPS Traffic Services (@TrafficServices) April 5, 2020
On Sunday, Mayor John Tory urged residents to stay at home given the warm weather.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 5, 2020
However, there are reports that many residents are practicing physical distancing and only travelling in small groups from the same household.
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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.
Toronto Police Service members & City of Toronto by-law officers continue to see non-compliance with government & public health orders. Tickets of $1,000 will be given to those who continue to make wrong decisions. Let’s get this right together for all us. #COVID19 #StayHome ^sm pic.twitter.com/nOBdOp4F6l
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) April 5, 2020
As of April 5, there are 1,232 cases with 69 recovered and 27 deceased in Toronto.