The city is preparing for the reopening of off-leash dog areas in parks across Toronto, Mayor John Tory says.
The mayor said he has asked city staff to come up with a plan to get them cleaned up and ready to reopen to the public.
“I think that we can get the city to lift that order because I don't really think it does affect, at this stage of the game, public health. So stay tuned,” Tory told CP24 on Wednesday morning. “I hope the news will come soon.”
In March, both the city and the provincial government put orders in place to close all off-leash dog parks, sports facilities, playgrounds, and other amenities in public and private parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The mayor said ultimately the province will need to give the green light before certain park amenities can reopen.
“I would have to have some concurrence from the province on this because their order intersects with ours and causes these to be closed as well,” Tory said.
The Ford government has said it will be making an announcement on Thursday about entering Stage 1 of Ontario’s plan to reopen the economy. Details on what will be permitted to open during the first stage have not been provided.
“I'm hopeful that some of the things related to pets and dogs may be dealt with in the announcement that the province has to make tomorrow,” Tory said.
“I don't really see the harm either with dog grooming if you do the handing over of the dog or pet... in a careful way. People don't need to have contact and the same (is true) with the off-leash parks.”
The mayor said since the off-leash areas were closed, there has been an uptick in the number of dogs running around in areas of parks not designated for off-leash activity.
“We should get those off-leash areas going,” he said. “I want the dog owners to be able to use those parks.”
He noted that the reopening of these areas will require pet owners to physically distance themselves from other people.
“All of these things require common sense and little self-discipline and I think we can sort of move to the next stage with that in mind," Tory said.