toronto stage 3 reopening

John Tory warns that crowded beaches in Toronto this weekend could delay Stage 3

Toronto Mayor John Tory is warning residents not to overcrowd beaches amid the heat wave this weekend, telling residents we are "very, very close" to entering Stage 3 of reopening and cannot afford a spike in new cases. 

Speaking during a press conference in North York Friday, Tory said Torontonians should be "very, very careful" about what they decide to do this weekend and how they choose to cool off from the heat. 

Toronto is currently under a heat warning as temperatures are set to soar above 30 C and feel more like 40 C with the humidex, and these conditions are expected to last until at least Monday, according to Environment Canada. 

The mayor said concerns about a lack of compliance with public health measures always increase when this kind of hot weather sets in, but Toronto is simply not in a place to handle a "series of intensive crowd scenes where people don’t follow the health guidelines."

"We have seen what happens when people just assume there is no problem and behave themselves accordingly and the result would be that we can't open the city up as wide as we want to anytime soon," Tory told reporters.

"I would just ask people that if you go to a place and it looks like it is already a big crowd scene, think about going somewhere else and if you are on a beach and there are other people there, which inevitably on weekends like this there will be, please consider wearing a face covering even though it may not be a natural place to do it."

Overcrowding at Toronto beaches has been a major issue since the start of the summer, and the city has ramped up enforcement measures and is restricting some evening weekend parking at a handful of beaches as a result. 

"The City has seen a significant increase in the number of people at Toronto beaches late into the evening who are not practising physical distancing, or who are setting up DJ equipment, lighting bonfires, setting off fireworks, drinking excessively and leaving large amounts of litter behind," reads a press release from the city about the restricted parking. 

"As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, residents visiting a beach or park must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding."

Meanwhile, Tory said today that while he understands that people want to escape the heat this weekend while enjoying the outdoors, he hopes they'll still follow public health advice and maintain a distance of at least two metres from those outside their household or social circle.

He added that the only way life will return to something even closer to normal — where a wide range of activities and attractions are available to the public — is if residents remain diligent in following public health measures now.

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