Premier Doug Ford says that he feels sorry for the residents of downtown condominiums and apartment buildings who may have few ways to spend time outside other than at a packed beach or busy park but is nonetheless “pleading” with them to continue practicing physical distancing.
Large crowds have been spotted at many of the city’s beaches amid a protracted heat wave that has now seen the temperature surpass the 30 C mark on five consecutive days.
Heading into the weekend, Mayor John Tory told CP24 that there are “dozens of beaches in Toronto” and that residents should practice a little “common sense” and pick one that is less likely to attract large crowds.
The warning, however, may have fallen on deaf ears as large crowds continued to be reported at many hotspots over the weekend. .
On Monday, Ford told reporters at his daily briefing that he saw photos of what appeared to be an “absolutely packed” beach on the Toronto Islands over the weekend.
He said that while he understands why people are continuing to flock to Toronto beaches in large numbers, it is important that they still follow what he called “the golden rule” and that means staying at least six feet apart from people outside of their social circles.
“There are so many peoples living in condos in downtown Toronto. I feel sorry for them, they want to get out. You start going squirrely in a house or a condo or a townhome and you just want to get outside and there is only so much space here and so many beaches in Toronto,” Ford said. “I understand the situation. But just try to spread out a little bit. Go to a Ontario (provincial) park, take a drive, just be careful.”
Officials in some Ontario communities have moved to close beaches as a way to control crowds but Ford has so far ruled out any sort of emergency order to that effect.
Instead, he has said that the province will continue to rely on the cooperation of Ontarians, even as a heat wave prompts more and more of them to head to already busy beaches in seek of a little relief.
“I would just plead with the people to practice social distancing. It is critical,” Ford said.