Toronto calls out bad long weekend behaviour and says it's up to us to end lockdown
After a Victoria Day weekend filled with illegal parties, protests, fireworks and far too much littering, Toronto Mayor John Tory is speaking out about some of the irresponsible behaviour reported in the city and emphasizing the importance of following the rules going forward to ensure this is the final long weekend in lockdown.
Tory made the comments in a statement released Tuesday, in which he also highlighted an important milestone in Toronto: 65 per cent of eligible adults have now received their first dose of the vaccine.
This shows how close we truly are to seeing the pandemic come to an end, but Tory says residents will have to continue following strict rules for just a little while longer if we're going to make that happen. And if the events of the long weekend are any indication, some people definitely need the reminder.
We literally made a fucking rave at woodbine beach pic.twitter.com/Zd3u1fo4fq— Diego Gomes (@DiegoGomesMusic) May 24, 2021
"Given the falling COVID-19 case numbers and the rising numbers of vaccinations, I firmly believe this past Victoria Day weekend will be our last long weekend in lockdown," Tory said in the statement.
"But all of this progress will depend on us just getting through the next few weeks without major setbacks. I know it isn't easy. We all need to hold on just a little bit longer to make sure we can reopen."
It's up to us in the weeks ahead to make sure this was the last long weekend in lockdown.— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 25, 2021
Read my statement below. pic.twitter.com/FvUVV6cQ4a
Tory also called out several specific incidents that occurred during the May 2-4 long weekend, including an anti-vaccine protest that saw demonstrators accosting families with children as they waited in line to receive their shot at city hall.
"People are always free to protest in a democracy although any gathering continues to be against the public health advice right now. But while people are free to protest vaccines, I find it extremely troubling that a handful of protesters chose to harass families trying to get their children vaccinated over the weekend," he said.
"I understand the police worked to keep these protesters separated from the families attending the City Hall vaccination clinic but I still think I have a duty as Mayor to speak up when anyone is trying to stop or deter or abuse anyone in our city who has chosen to access healthcare. The vaccines are safe and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated."
Following this chant, the #antimask #antivaxx protestors began directly addressing the children in line:— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer (@CarymaRules) May 23, 2021
“Don’t listen to your parents! They are aren’t keeping you safe!”
Which is a weird message, considering their previous stance was emphasizing parental consent. pic.twitter.com/4FaSrnzZkd
He also mentioned the unacceptable amount of litter that was left in parks and beaches during the weekend, especially following large gatherings at Woodbine and Cherry beaches.
Why are Torontonians so lazy and disgusting? Just one of many scenes this morning at Woodbine Beach. pic.twitter.com/iO2LKd6Fum— Lesa Hannah (@LesaHannah) May 24, 2021
"In the wake of the pandemic, we have increased litter patrols and garbage clean-up in major parks to recognize the increased use of these outdoor spaces. So it is troubling to see that people continue to leave their garbage in the park and on the beach," said the mayor.
"Many of our residents rely on the parks and beaches as their backyards. You don't leave garbage in your backyard or your neighbour's backyard so please don't leave it in the parks or on beaches - our collective backyard."
The behaviour we saw at #WoodbineBeach this weekend was infuriating. While most Torontonians are doing the right thing, a small minority are disregarding community safety and disrespecting our public spaces.— Brad Bradford✌️ (@BradMBradford) May 25, 2021
Be a grown-up and pick up after yourselves. It isn't too much to ask. pic.twitter.com/sqgWHt6eu7
The mayor also highlighted disrespectful and aggressive behaviour directed at the city's enforcement staff.
He said enforcement teams have been met with abuse and hostility while simply trying to do their job and keep people safe, though some would argue it's actually the other way around following heavy-handed police presence at a memorial rally for Regis Korchinski-Paquet on Monday.
Tense stand-off between police and protesters Gerrard & Yonge. Police forced to release three taken into custody after prisoner van surrounded. pic.twitter.com/XrVotOQkOW— Kevin Frankish (@KevinFrankish) May 24, 2021
Overall, however, Tory's message is straight-forward and simple: Continue following public health measures now so that we can finally return to some version of normal soon.
The province's stay-at-home order is currently scheduled to end on June 2, so here's hoping the conditions in Ontario continue to improve leading up to the Canada Day long weekend.
"I understand the fatigue and frustration felt by many," Tory said.
"However, that cannot be an excuse for inconsiderate behaviour. We are doing so well and I believe as a city we have turned the corner on our way to a safe summer and a safe re-opening. Let's rally around our city and each other to make that happen."
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