Toronto Police laid 47 charges for large social gatherings this weekend
Toronto's enforcement teams were out conducting proactive inspections of businesses and responding to complaints about social gatherings over the weekend, and residents of the city certainly kept them busy.
Fire Chief Matthew Pegg provided his weekly enforcement update during Toronto's COVID-19 press briefing Monday afternoon, stating that the city has taken formal enforcement action 2,110 times to date.
"This weekend, our enforcement officers continued to monitor compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act," he said.
Joining @EPDevilla and @ChiefPeggTFS at 2PM for our COVID-19 briefing.— John Tory (@JohnTory) February 1, 2021
To watch live visit: https://t.co/Uli2JpQvgZ pic.twitter.com/YJiLlbO8qi
According to Pegg, officers laid 47 charges following the investigation of complaints related to large gatherings on private property and in private residences on Saturday and Sunday, which is just slightly more than last week.
Three charges and 10 notices were also issued to the owners and operators of a video store and restaurant, said Pegg, and a proactive inspection of 138 bars and restaurants resulted in just one charge laid and a compliance rate of 99 per cent.
And just like previous weekends, Toronto Police also had to deal with a number of protests and rallies despite outdoor gathering limits prohibiting such demonstrations right now, which resulted in officers laying two Criminal Code charges against individuals.
Following his COVID-19 enforcement update, Chief Pegg also acknowledged the incident in which two people fell through the ice at Grenadier Pond this weekend, and he pleaded with residents to refrain from skating on bodies of water.
Man issues warning to others after falling through ice in Toronto park while skating https://t.co/sin1uozBR8 #Toronto #Skating— blogTO (@blogTO) February 1, 2021
"Outdoor skating is a favourite Toronto pasttime, but skating on natural and man-made bodies of water such as ponds and storm water ponds is very dangerous and is therefore prohibited in Toronto with the exception of on Grenadier Pond," he said.
"Grenadier Pond is the only natural pond in Toronto where the City of Toronto tests the ice thickness. A flag at Grenadier Pond indicates when the pond is not safe for skating," he continued.
"When that is the case, a red flag is posted alerting potential users to the dangers of thin ice. When the ice on Grenadier Pond may be used at your own risk, a yellow flag is posted. Currently, Grenadier Pond is unsafe for skating and the corresponding red flag is posted."
Pegg said all other natural and man-made bodies of water are not safe for skating, hockey, sledding, or any form of recreational activity because "the ice that forms on these bodies of water is unpredictable, unstable, and often dangerous."
He added that pond water and ice levels fluctuate and may become unstable as temperatures fluctuate, and salt run-off can also make the ice dangerous.
Pegg also noted that there have been reports of warning and danger signs on ponds being removed, which he called "extremely dangerous" for unsuspecting skaters.
"The city has more than 50 artificial ice rinks across the city where people can get out and skate safely," he said. "As someone who has been personally involved in numerous ice and water rescues over the years, I implore you to stay off unverified natural ice and stick to the safety of our network of artificial rinks."
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