Social distancing rules in the 6ix are getting stricter. Much stricter. During a city of Toronto press briefing, Mayor John Tory announced a new bylaw for individuals who do not obey social distancing recommendations. Starting immediately, people will be fined up to $5,000 if they're caught walking closer than within two metres of each other, as officials look to halt the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto.
Tory, along with Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, said that they will begin enforcement of the bylaw immediately.
"Any two people who don’t live together who fail to keep two metres of distance between them in a park or public square will be subject to prosecution and will, upon conviction, be liable for a fine of up to $5,000," said Tory during the briefing.
However, he added that the city is currently looking into setting the default fine at $750.
"I've signed this bylaw, which is in effect for at least the next 30 days, to further drive home the message that people have to keep their distance from each other to avoid spreading COVID-19 further in our city," he added.
It's important to note that this new bylaw does not apply to people who are living in the same house.
According to Toronto Star reporter David Rider, Tory says he will do everything he can, including locking down the city, to prevent COVID-19 spreading like it has in New York City.
After issuing the bylaw, Tory stressed that Torontonians have had plenty of warnings, via CityNews.
There's been news of people already trespassing in parks and areas that have already been shut down by the city.
Both Tory and Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa condemned those people's actions on Thursday.
The province of Ontario has already given powers to law enforcement officials in cities, in order to ticket those who are not abiding by new distancing laws.
Tory has a strong message for individuals, groups, and non-essential stores that continue to disregard Ontario emergency protocols, municipal laws, and recommendations.
"The time for puzzlement at this misbehaviour is over, lives are potentially at stake and we will turn up the heat in the hopes that the few that still don’t get it or pretend not to get it will get with the program."
Desperate times call for strong words and strong measures, and this is about the strongest stance we've seen so far in Toronto.