The City of Toronto is closing all city-owned playgrounds and other park amenities effective immediately as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Park green spaces will still be accessible, but playground structures with fencing and gates will be locked. Unfenced playground structures will have signs and be taped off.
Playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor exercise equipment and other parks amenities, as well as parking lots attached to its parks system, will all be affected by the closure.
Mayor John Tory said in a press release he knows the closure will cause more “discomfort and disruption,” but playgrounds and park amenities are places people gather and “the more that people gather, the more COVID-19 will spread in our community, putting lives at risk.”
Violators could be fined up to $5,000 for accessing a closed city-owned park amenity.
City workers will be taping off playgrounds and amenities, wrapping basketball nets, and affixing signage over the next several days with 75 per cent of it expected to be completed by Friday.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is also urging all condo boards, schools and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to close their playgrounds and park amenities too.
Toronto currently has more than 1,500 parks with over than 800 playgrounds across the city.