Doug Ford says he's okay with people drinking cold beer in parks
Even though it felt for a second like the city was getting a bit more lenient about drinking in parks while bars were closed during the pandemic lockdown, the act is still technically prohibited in Toronto. But, Doug Ford doesn't think it should be.
NEW: Premier Doug Ford urges bylaw enforcement officers to ease up on tickets for people having a quiet beer in a park as long as they're not "rowdy" given that it's legal to smoke a joint in park. #COVID19 #onpoli— Rob Ferguson (@robferguson1) August 14, 2020
"I can't agree with giving someone a ticket [for drinking in a park] during COVID-19 when they're stuck in an apartment, they want to be responsible, they stick to themselves, are quiet and they have a cold beer. Just give us a little bit of a break," Ford said in response to a question about police issuing fines to Ontario residents imbibing in shared green spaces.
Ford has left the ultimate decision on the matter up to municipalities, though, and despite the fact that Toronto Mayor John Tory is also in favour of letting people have some sips in the grass, the city's Municipal Code states that while in a park, no person can sell or consume alcohol, nor have any open liquor.
Many nearby cities have similar rules in place. Hamilton, for example, issued 369 tickets for public drinking between March 12 and July 31 of this year alone.
And, getting busted and fined for boozing in major parks in Toronto isn't at all out of the ordinary either, which is something Ford just can't get behind.
"They're making it legal to go out and smoke a joint, a doobie, a reefer, whatever the heck they call it nowadays... [so] if a couple guys are sitting there quietly at a picnic bench having a cold little beer, who cares?" he asked, adding that he doesn't blame the police, but mayors and city councillors.
"Have a little bit of flexibility."
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