Officers issued 48 tickets and 286 warnings about social distancing during the long weekend in Toronto
Toronto’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team — a partnership between Toronto Police Service and the City — was out in full force this Easter long weekend, issuing fines and educating people about the importance of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a news release published Sunday, the City said Municipal Licensing & Standards (MLS) officers issued 48 tickets for the use of closed park amenities and not practising physical distancing on Saturday, which amounts to 32 per cent of the total number of tickets issued since enforcement began on April 3.
"The advice from Toronto’s public health officials has been clear and consistent: to stop the community spread of this deadly virus, we must reduce all contact with others as much as possible," the statement notes.
The city also said MLS officers spoke with 286 people regarding use of amenities and social distancing, which is an 83 per cent decrease from Friday.
They said the team is now more focused on stricter enforcement in 20 high-use parks, rather than simply providing public education.
Any two people who don't live together and are caught standing less than 2 metres apart in a public park or square can be fined $1,000 under a new bylaw, and anyone who fails to correctly identify oneself to an officer investigating a matter under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act can receive a set fine of $750.
The best way to prevent #COVID19 is to avoid close contact with others. #Stayhome and practise #physicaldistancing when out. Any 2 people who don't live together, who fail to keep 2 metres apart in a park/public square, are subject to a $1,000 fine. https://t.co/kni59NMFeL pic.twitter.com/h2h2YEIE3b— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 12, 2020
Overall, officers reported lighter use of some of the busiest parks in the city this weekend, as complaints to 311 about behaviour in parks decreased by almost 39 per cent Saturday from the previous day.
Still, officers did report continuing issues with individuals and groups with off-leash dogs in Trinity Bellwoods Park and people lingering in Muskoka chairs and starting bonfires in waterfront parks.
As of Sunday afternoon, Toronto Public Health reported 2,225 cases of COVID-19 in the city, with 208 patients in hospital 85 in ICU.
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