Toronto faces COVID-19 physical distancing challenges

Toronto, May 25 (IANS) Many Canadians have been taking advantage of the warm weather to venture outdoors after spending weeks in the COVID-19 lockdown, but the easing of restrictions has sparked a backlash in Toronto, it was reported.

A statement on Sunday from the city said thousands of people packed Trinity Bellwoods Park in the downtown area a day earlier and some were flouting physical distancing regulations, reports CBC News.

The city called the crowds “unacceptable” and that they threatened to undo the work done over the last 10 weeks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The city has made it illegal to come within two metres of someone from a different household in parks and public squares.

Those who break the bylaw could be handed a C$1,000 ticket on the spot, though officers can also issue higher tickets — subject to the court system — in which fines go up to C$5,000 on conviction.

Toronto began reopening park amenities on May 20 for the first time in more than two months.

People were also being allowed to shop inside stores with street entrances.

On Sunday, the city’s chief medical officer of health, Eileen de Villa, condemned the “selfish and dangerous behaviour” of people flocking to parks.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Sunday said he was “absolutely shocked” to see images from Trinity Bellwoods of “just too many people, too close”, reports CBC News.

He said the virus could “spread like wildfire” without precautions and urged people to get tested at one of the 129 assessment centres in the province if they are worried about exposure, even if they are not showing symptoms.

Currently, Canada has 84,699 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 6,515 deaths.

–IANS
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