Torontonians could face fine up to $5,000 under new physical distancing bylaw

'We are just asking for people to engage in common sense behaviour'

Toronto mayor John Tory introduced a new bylaw Thursday that requires people to stay two metres apart from one another in city parks and public spaces. The bylaw applies to people who do not live together.

Anyone who breaks the bylaw, which will be in effect for at least the next 30 days, could face a fine of up to $5,000. The city has asked Ontario’s Chief Justice to enable law enforcement officers to issue tickets for $750 on the spot.

Tory has been critical of Toronto residents who have continued to visit the city’s parks in groups and fail to observe public health recommendations to practice social and physical distancing.

“This will further the spread of COVID-19 in our city and will contribute to the costing of lives… Not only does this misbehaviour on the part of a small number put people’s own health at risk, it puts their families at risk and all of our families across the city for that matter,” Tory said during Thursday’s press conference.

“We are not saying to people, ‘Don’t go to the park,'” Tory continued. “We are just asking for people to engage in common sense behaviour.”

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said 160 uniformed officers, special constables, and parking enforcement officers will help bylaw officers enforce the new regulation.