Toronto Mayor condemns large crowd at Trinity Bellwoods Park

Marco Green
May 24, 2020

Both Tory and de Villa said some people were practising good physical distancing at other parks, but Trinity Bellwoods was way overcrowded.

Many Canadians have been taking advantage of warmer weather to venture outside after spending weeks in lockdown because of COVID-19, but the easing of restrictions has sparked a backlash in Toronto. "Public gatherings, like today's in Trinity Bellwoods Park, threaten to undo the hard and challenging work residents of this city have done over the last 10 weeks in their collective effort to beat COVID-19".

The fine for any two or people who are not members of the same household, and who do not keep at least two metres distance between them, can receive a ticket of up to $1,000.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, warned that this "selfish" and "dangerous" behaviour can set the city back.

Toronto reopened some park amenities and city services this weekend as part of the province's reopening plan. "I get all that, but I also get the fact that people have died in the city", Tory said, adding that he spoke to some of the people in the park on Saturday night. Toronto Public Health officials have said the continuous uptick in new infections could be the result of families gathering on Mother's Day.

"Across the city today, people went to parks (which have been open throughout the #COVID19 pandemic) and kept their distance from others".

Mayor John Tory called the crowds at the popular park "incredibly disappointing".

Trinity Bellwoods was one of the problematic parks mentioned where the COVID-19 enforcement team observed crowding as well as public intoxication and unruly behaviour. But that didn't seem to stop thousands of people Saturday from potentially contributing to the spread of a virus that's already killed 2,048 people in Ontario, so far. "I know from talking to them tonight these are smart people who simply have to do better going forward".

As photos and video of people sitting side by side, having large group picnics and ignoring public health advice were shared widely on social media, city councillor and board of health chair Joe Cressy reacted with disappointment on Twitter. "It was a lovely day & we all want to enjoy our city together, but this could be selfish and risky behavior that could set us back", the tweet said.

"We just have to find a way to do it in a safe fashion", said Dr. David Carr, an emergency physician with the University Health Network in Toronto.

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. We're by no means out of the woods yet. "Anything but. Please, we are all in this together".

The covidiots were out in full force Saturday at Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park. Bloordate snack bar Seoul Shakers wrote on Instagram that its delivery people had made a couple trips to the park on Saturday afternoon.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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