Police and bylaw officers are expected to be out in full force at Trinity Bellwoods Park today after an estimated 10,000 people packed into the downtown green space on Saturday.
Large groups were spotted throughout the park on Saturday, ignoring physical distancing rules and disobeying the province’s emergency order banning gatherings of more than five people.
Toronto police Const. Alex Li told CP24 that while officers were at the park throughout the day, it was difficult for police to safely go into large crowds and issue tickets.
“We want to reiterate the fact that please do continue practicing physical distancing,” Li said.
Mayor John Tory called the crowds at the popular park “incredibly disappointing.”
“I was by a number of other parks today, and there were parks that were reported to me as being perfectly in compliance with the physical distancing and people got the message. People knew what they had to do to stop the spread of the virus,” Tory said.
“And yet for some reason at Trinity Bellwoods, people were engaging in just incredibly disappointing behaviour.”
Tory said if these types of groups continue to gather at Trinity Bellwoods Park, he will consider closing the park to the public.
“They want to be in the park to give themselves a break from being confined to their quarters for the last several weeks, and it’s a nice day. 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.
“And I was telling them that, unfortunately, more people are dying, and the numbers are going the wrong way. And that they have to be part of the solution, not become part of the problem,” Tory said.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, warned that this “selfish” and “dangerous” behaviour can set the city back.
On Saturday, Toronto Public Health reported 220 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.