Residents who planned to spend their self-isolation congregating in Toronto's parks are now being told to stay away. Mayor John Tory announced on Wednesday that the city would be restricting access to all city-owned amenities in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The new closures will block off hundreds of playgrounds, sports fields, and other outdoor amenities to the public until further notice.

Kamil Karamali from Global News reported that crews have spent the morning taping off parks so that residents won't be able to use them. This even includes using zip-ties to connect swings so they become unusable to the public. 

High Park is also closing off its roads and is not allowing cars to travel or park throughout the park at this time, according to Carl Hanstke from 680 News. 

"Beginning tomorrow, signage will be erected across Toronto's parks amenities to advise of closures, including playgrounds. Where fencing or gates exists, they will be locked. Unfenced playground structures will be signed and taped off. Parks green spaces will remain accessible, but all amenities within City parks will be closed," reads a statement on the city's website.

The widespread closures come as an attempt to stop large groups of people from "using parks and their amenities to congregate."

It's worth noting that city officials are still encouraging people to get occasional fresh air and exercise. However, it's also urging residents to stay home as much as possible.

If residents refuse to listen to these new rules they could face fines of up to $5,000.

Since the announcement, images of abandoned parks and facilities have already begun popping up online, highlighting just how empty Toronto is becoming during its shutdown.

Many playgrounds that are often filled with children are abandoned, and fields are empty. 

"For those who don’t know this park, it is usually JAMMED with people," wrote one Instagram user as they posted a photo of an empty Trinity Bellwoods Park. 

 

As much as it will cause further discomfort and disruption, the steps we are taking today are based – as we have based all decisions around protecting the public – on the strong recommendation of our Medical Officer of Health," Tory said.

However, it's not just public parks that are shut down to the public during this time. 

Many GTA hiking trails and conservation areas were also shut down on Wednesday as part of Ontario's initiative to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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