"Damn mad" Tory says time's up for social distancing rule breakers; announces new fines

tory

From groups playing soccer to adults disregarding and tearing down caution tape around playgrounds, Toronto Mayor John Tory voiced his frustation with social distancing rule-breakers Monday, as the city announced new fines for them. 

"These people that go and play socccer or go on fitness equipment that's been taped off and I'm damn mad about it," Tory said Monday on NEWSTALK1010's the Rush. "Insane, ridiculous behaviour on the part of people who are adults, we're not talking about four-year-olds here." 

Tory says the city will now issue fines ranging from $750 to up to $5,000 for using public spaces and equipment that has been shut down because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Earlier in the day, he referenced people playing soccer at various Toronto parks, and others using fitness equipment such as at Sunnyside Park this weekend, which had been signed and taped off. 

"While we always try to persuade and educate people as we've been trying to do from the beginning, I'm afraid the time is up for those who don't want to listen or who don't care," he said at the city's Monday briefing. 

Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, leading the emergency response, said parks staff had begun a downtown hotspot patrol and education blitz, while reinstalling removed signage, locks and caution tape. 

But Pegg said charges have also already been laid against businesses that should've been closed. 

The latest comes as Ontario saw its highest single-day jump of cases to date, with 351 new cases, bringing the total up to over 1,700. 

100 people are in ICU, with 61 on ventilators. 

The province also confirming an additional 10 deaths from the original day's count, bringing the total to 33 and eight people at Toronto Public Health have also tested positive. 

Tory said while he understands physical distancing and self-isolation measures can be difficult, the public has to think long-term. 

"People will have their lives back much faster if they just do what they're being asked to do," he said. "But otherwise we'll be sitting here at the end of the summer, at the end of the summer we'll be sitting here and we'll still be in the same state." 

More measures were also announced by the province, as Premier Doug Ford said the state of emergency would be extended by two weeks. 

Ontario's chief medical officer of health also announced that anyone 70 and older - regardless of symptoms - and those with compromised immune systems should also self-isolate for the next two weeks. 

Despite the province suspending all eviction notices until further notice during the pandemic and the premier promising that one would get evicted if they can't pay their rent, both he and Tory are pushing people to pay if they can. 

"If you have to choose between putting food on your table or paying your rent, put food on the table," Ford said Saturday, while urging people can pay to do so. "Please don't take advantage." 

But Tory said Monday that may already be the case, saying he heard from a major landlord that 60 per cent of their tenant base cancelled their automatic withdrawals of their rent. 

"Maybe there's been 15 per cent more who have lost their job and maybe another five per cent who didn't have a job before, so maybe it's 20 that are unemployed, not 60," he said. "They (landlords) have to be much more forthright in saying to tenants as they have said to me, we will sit down with anybody who has lost a job and do a deal with them." 

"But it's very difficult because they've got these problems."