toronto social distancing rules

Toronto introduces new rule requiring a 2m distance between people in parks and public squares

Toronto Mayor John Tory has signed and approved a new bylaw requiring residents in parks and public squares to maintain a distance of two metres from anyone they don't live with, or face paying a hefty fine.

Tory made the announcement at the city's daily press conference Thursday afternoon.

"Today I have signed a bylaw using my authority issued under the city's emergency declaration to impose a two-metre physical distancing rule in all city parks and public squares," the mayor said.

"Any two people who don't live together who fail to keep 2 metres of distance between them in a park or public square will be subject to prosecution and will, upon conviction, be liable for a fine of up to $5,000."

Tory said he expects that they'll soon have permission to issue a set fine ticket of $750 for this offence. He added that the bylaw is in effect for at least the next 30 days, and it begins immediately.

The news comes after several warnings from Tory that significant fines would be coming for those who continue to refuse to practice social distancing in public parks.

All park amenities have been closed across the city of Toronto for about a week now to try and curb the spread of COVID-19 — though green spaces remain open for now — but some residents have been blatantly ignoring the signs.

"We continue to see, especially as the weather improves, people ignoring that advice and even worse, flocking to parks and even using closed playgrounds, closed parking lots and gathering together with others to play sports in the parks," Tory said.

"This will further the spread of COVID-19 in our city and will contribute to the costing of lives."

The mayor also said the city would begin using concrete blocks, the same ones used to raid illegal cannabis stores just months ago, to block off entrances to parking lots and other closed park amenities.

Tory maintained that residents are still free to go outside for daily exercise and to walk their dogs, but they must maintain a physical distance of two metres from others while doing so.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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