The Easter long weekend has come to a close and it's safe to say that residents observed the holiday a little differently this year. Despite the sunny weather and the additional day off for many residents, the City reported fewer people in some usually busy parks, indicating that Torontonians are starting to stay home.
Over the long weekend, Toronto police and by-law officers completed a coordinated enforcement blitz in 20 "high-use" parks to ensure residents were adhering to the City's policies regarding physical distancing measures.
While the teams were initially focused on educating residents found in violation of the social distancing measures currently in place, on Saturday the team moved to almost exclusively issuing tickets.
According to the City, Municipal Licensing & Standards (MLS) officers issued 48 tickets for the use of closed park amenities and not practising physical distancing – 32% of the total number of tickets issued since enforcement began nine days ago on April 3.
Officers who participated in the weekend blitz did report lighter use of some busy parks, indicating that residents are starting to get the message about physical distancing. MLS officers said they spoke with 286 people regarding use of amenities and social distancing, an 83% decrease from Friday.
Complaints to 311 about behaviour in parks also decreased by almost 39% on Saturday from the previous day. Officers did report continuing issues with individuals and groups with off-leash dogs in Trinity Bellwoods Park and people lingering in Muskoka chairs and starting bonfires in waterfront parks.
The City is reminding the public that any two people who don't live together and fail to keep two metres apart in a park or public square, are subject to a $1,000 fine, the maximum set fine available.
Additionally, failing to identify oneself (correct name, date of birth and address) to an officer investigating a matter under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act carries a set fine of $750.