These are the latest social distancing rules in Toronto and Ontario
Social distancing has been the foremost weapon against fighting COVID-19, and since the pandemic began we've seen the Ontario and Toronto governments enforce far stricter measures than two weeks ago.
Following the rules is no longer just a social obligation, it's now a legal requirement that, if not met, can result in hefty fines or even imprisonment.
For one, the Ontario government has banned gatherings of more than five people.
To enforce that rule, and others surrounding social distancing, police officers in Ontario have been given temporary powers under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
In Toronto, this weekend marks the first that police have dispatched around 160 officers on foot, on bikes, or mounted on horses, to ticket or fine anyone breaking the rules, which have also changed drastically since the beginning of then week.
Toronto police are being sent out to enforce public distancing laws in Toronto this weekend https://t.co/JSwczm8egK #Toronto #TorontoPolice #SocialDistancing #Coronavirus #COVID19 #COVIDToronto pic.twitter.com/sinsAnuZS6— blogTO (@blogTO) April 3, 2020
Tickets amounting of either $750 or $1,000 will be handed out to anyone not complying with physical distancing rules.
Exceptions apply: funerals can have up to 10 people at a time; child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and responders can have up to 50; and the rule of 5 excludes people who live in the same household.
Maintaining a distance of two metres, or 6 feet, from others is still an essential part of physical distancing.
Some of the 42 park hotspots across Toronto which have experienced repeat issues of citizens congregating, despite the bylaw, include Sunnyside Park, where giant concrete bricks once seen barring the entryways of illegal weed stores are now being used to barrier parking lots.
Any cars caught parked in these areas will be towed, said Mayor John Tory.
Premier Doug Ford has since followed suit by closing all outdoor recreational amenities across the province, including playgrounds, beaches, off-leash dog parks, skateboard parks, condo parks and gardens, and picnic areas.
Ongoing recommendations for Toronto residents include minimizing trips outside for essentials like groceries or medication (online delivery services are a good solution), washing your hands, and using the TTC or ride-share only when necessary, and ideally during off-peak hours.
A new Google report analyzing mobility data from Canadians show that, for the most part, anonymous participants in Ontario are doing their part to flatten the curve, but only time will tell.
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