With a state of emergency being declared as COVID-19 in Toronto continues to spread, residents are being told to self distance as much as possible. However, that didn't seem to stop residents from flooding parks over the weekend. Now, Mayor John Tory is calling on the city to begin a ticketing blitz “as soon as possible,” to stop those who aren't listening to the rules. 

Last week, the City of Toronto announced that they would be closing down all amenities throughout parks across Toronto. Signs were put up and swings were tied together in attempts to stop locals from gathering. 

However, photos showing groups of parkgoers crowding together in several of the city’s outdoor areas spurned yet another frustrated statement from Mayor John Tory on Monday morning.

Tory tore into the “stupid” and “life-threatening” behaviour being demonstrated by those attending the outings. Residents who ignore the new shutdowns could face a fine of up to $5,000.

“This is the kind of thing that spreads the virus and causes the death toll in places that we have seen like New York and Italy,” he told CP24.

“Do people not watch television and see what is going on in other parts of the world where people are not paying attention to this (social distancing), or they started doing it too late?” he added.

Tory also told CTV News that he has now asked bylaw officers to start a ticketing blitz as early as this week in an attempt to stop people from continuing to gather in social places.  

Concerned residents also took to social media over the weekend to share their disbelief over the disregard for physical distancing. Others reported that residents were tearing down yellow tape and signs and using park amenities.

According to CityNews, Toronto’s 311 system received nearly 10,000 complaints over the weekend about people failing to social distance in parks and other outdoor spaces.

“We didn’t do this because we were sort of trying to make families feel bad. We did this because its park facilities is a potential breeding ground for virus spread. It is just extraordinary to me that people would ignore the signage and more than that, that they would ignore the consequences not just for them but for other people as well,” Tory stated according to CP24.

The images of packed parks this weekend come in direct contrast to the ones seen during the week. Spooky photos of seemingly abandoned green spaces appeared to show Torontonians doing their best to avoid each other during these stressful times.

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