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Public officials condemn mass gathering at Toronto park amid warm weather

Sunday, May 24th 2020, 2:52 pm - Numerous Toronto and provincial figures criticized the Trinity Bellwoods Park gathering Saturday, which violated the physical distancing measures put in place over COVID-19.

As tempting as the warm weather is for everyone to go outside and enjoy it as they see fit, government and health officials are reminding people to do so while safely adhering to physical distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not everyone is following the guidelines. On Saturday, thousands of people gathered at Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park, provoking anger from city and provincial leaders. The City of Toronto issued a public statement on the gathering.

Trinity Bellwoods Gates Toronto's Bellwoods Park gates. Photo: Wikipedia.

"Images today of thousands of people gathered in Trinity Bellwoods Park were unacceptable. Gatherings like this, where people aren’t keeping their distance from others, run the risk of setting Toronto back significantly in its efforts to stop the transmission of COVID-19," the statement read.

"The vast majority of parks across Toronto were used responsibly today. Cyclists and pedestrians got fresh air and exercise as part ActiveTO, where major roads, such as Lake Shore Boulevard and Bayview Avenue, were closed to motorists to allow people to safely get outside. The City thanks them for their efforts."

The statement said people are encouraged to go out, but must stay two metres apart from anyone not from their household, citing health advice from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa.

As a result, Toronto bylaw enforcement officers and police will be at Trinity Bellwoods Park Sunday to prevent a repeat of Saturday's gathering. The physical distancing bylaw and provincial emergency order around gatherings will be strictly enforced.

Mayor John Tory also chimed in on what happened at the park, expressing his disappointment publicly on Twitter.

Premier Doug Ford was also made aware of the congregation at Trinity Bellwoods Park and stated his shock and disapproval during his daily COVID-19 update.

"I thought it was a rock concert at the beginning when I went out there. I was absolutely shocked," said Ford.

"It's a beautiful day out, everyone wants to get out and have a great time. I fully understand...but the images I saw, we just can't have that right now. It's just too many people, too close."

Thumbnail courtesy of Global News.


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