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Torontonians seem to finally be getting physical distancing message, Tory says
TORONTO -- Mayor John Tory says that Torontonians seem to finally be getting the message on the importance of physical distancing after weeks of warnings from various public officials.
Tory made the comment to CP24 on Monday morning on the heels of a weekend blitz to enforce a new bylaw prohibiting people from being within two metres of one another in public squares and parks.
The city has said that 160 uniformed police officers and 200 and bylaw officers conducted the blitz at 10 diffferent hotspots that were identified based on the number of complaints recieved by 311,
They spoke to more than 700 people on Saturday alone and issued warnings to 373 of them but only wrote nine tickets.
Police also turned away 800 vehicles at Bluffers Park and 140 vehicles at High Park on Saturday. A total of 19 parking tickets were written.
“I think the warnings were people that perhaps let things slip for a minute but I think people are getting the message and I hope that they continue to get the message because this next couple of weeks is key to seeing whether that trend line continues up or whether it starts to slow down,” Tory said. “I think it will continue to go up for a bit yet based on all the projections we have been told but we have the ability to influence that and I hope we do.”
Tory has previously expressed frustration with members of the public openly flouting the closure of recreational amenities at the city’s parks and continuing to gather in large numbers at popular destinations like the waterfront and Bluffers Park.
On Monday, however, he said that he believes the city is starting to turn a corner when it comes to abiding by the new guidelines that have effectively brought public life to a standstill.
“I think we are in the right place now in terms of people understanding that this is a matter of life and death,” he said. “I think the bylaw helped because a lot of attention was paid to that. I didn’t take any joy in signing that but we are making progress.”
Anyone found to be in violation of the city’s new bylaw face a set fine of $1,000.
10 problem areas for social distancing
On Sunday, city officials released a list of the top 10 areas in Toronto where social distancing has become a problem. Included in the list are most of Toronto's largest parks.