‘It’s selfish’: Officials disappointed to see large crowds at downtown Toronto park amid pandemic

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    Physical distancing rules appeared to have been ignored at some of Toronto’s parks and beaches, where thousands of people gathered Saturday to enjoy the summer-like weather.

    Trinity Bellwoods Park, located near Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue, was packed with people who seemed to be disregarding physical distancing by-laws.

    Ahead of this weekend, public health officials urged people to continue to practice physical distancing as Ontario continues to see a rise of new COVID-19 cases after being on the decline for weeks.

    Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, asked residents on Friday to not socialize in group settings to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

    On Saturday, de Villa posted on Twitter that large gatherings who don’t adhere to public health measures could “set us back.”

    I understand that the photos of people in Trinity Bellwoods were disappointing today. It was a beautiful day & we all want to enjoy our city together, but this could be selfish & dangerous behaviour that could set us back. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/cKVj0DdBhh

    Toronto Public Health reported 220 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the city’s total to 9,835. Of those cases, 750 have died while 7,202 have recovered.

    Ward 10 Councillor Joe Cressy said he is disappointed to see that physical distancing rules were not being followed at the park.

    “It’s dangerous, and frankly, it’s selfish,” Cressy said. “We are by no means out of the woods yet.”

    He said the city has not spiked and large crowds make the second wave a potential reality.

    According to the city, it has seen a notable increase in complaints related to park use and physical distancing after weeks of declining number of complaints. Toronto reopened some park amenities and city services this weekend as part of the province’s reopening plan.

    Cressy said the city has received troubling reports on Saturday regarding the situation at the downtown park.

    Groups of more than five people were also spotted at the downtown park, which violates the province’s emergency order prohibiting gatherings of more than five people who are not members of the same household.

    The city said additional officers have been deployed to problematic parks, including Trinity Bellwoods. However, some officers told CP24 that it was impossible to enforce by-laws given the thousands of people who have descended upon the downtown park.

    Toronto police Const. Alex Li said it is challenging for officers to go into large crowds safely and enforce the law.

    “I am aware that there are officers there, as well as the city bylaw officers that are on the scene. They are monitoring the situation,” Li said.

    Cressy said he has been in touch with city staff to adjust the planning for Sunday to avoid another gathering of large crowds at the park.

    “We want to make sure that people can get outside,” Cressy said. “But if people don’t respect the rules, we can’t allow it to happen.”

    Source: https://www.cp24.com/news/it-s-selfish-officials-disappointed-to-see-large-crowds-at-downtown-toronto-park-amid-pandemic-1.4951953

    Toronto, Trinity – Bellwoods, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Coronavirus, Ontario, Social distancing

    World news – CA – ‘It’s selfish’: Officials disappointed to see large crowds at downtown Toronto park amid pandemic

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