An enforcement officer was assaulted in a Toronto park on Friday, while ensuring physical distancing rules were followed as “troubling behaviour” continues to be observed in public spaces, the city says.
In a news release issued on Saturday, the city said an arrest was made following the assault. No other details on the incident were shared.
“The enforcement team continues to see troubling behaviour as the weather improves and people become frustrated with restrictions,” the city said, adding that they received 440 complaints involving people using park amenities and breaking physical distancing rules.
According to the city, people were building fire pits at Bluffers Parks, and there were gatherings at the boat launch in King’s Mill Park. As well, signs and barriers in many city locations are still being removed, and physical distancing is not being observed in long lines outside businesses.
As a result, bylaw and police officers issued 19 tickets on Friday, bringing the total number of tickets issued to 338 since April 3.
The city said they received 30 complaints on Friday regarding non-essential businesses remaining open despite provincial orders. Toronto Public Health (TPH) and the Municipal Licensing and Standards have issued 41 tickets and 117 notices to non-essential businesses since an emergency order to shut them down was issued by the province back in March.
TPH reported 201 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the city’s total to 3,346. Of the cases, 274 are in hospital with 98 in intensive care units.
The city said 162 people have now died of the virus, an increase of eight deaths from Friday.
City officials meet to determine when to re-open
Toronto Mayor John Tory and the city’s senior officials met Saturday to discuss plans to re-open the city.
The meeting comes a day after Tory said the COVID-19 pandemic could cost the city $1.5 billion this year, describing the figure as the best-case scenario.
“The day will come when it comes. We just have to be ready for it,” Tory said.
“I think people should understand that it’s going to take a while yet because there are still new cases coming up as they see from the numbers. We have to make sure that that curve is not only turned down but has gone way down in terms of the rate of new infection before we can say, based on the advice of the medical officer of health, that it is time to begin the process.”
The city is projecting $2.7 billion loss revenue by the end of the year if the lockdown continues over nine months.
Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he had talked to Tory, and they are putting together plans with the municipal affairs minister.
“We’ll do whatever we can based on our capacity,” Ford said. “We won’t leave a penny when it comes to supporting people throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.”