Painted physical distancing circles to return to Trinity Bellwoods Park this spring
Toronto recorded 1,329 new COVID-19 cases on Friday
Physical distancing circles will be returning to Trinity Bellwoods Park this spring in an attempt to encourage visitors to maintain their distance amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning next week, dependent on weather conditions, City of Toronto staff will once again paint white rings on the grass of the popular west-end park to help keep people safe while using the outdoor space.
The circles were first introduced last year following a weekend in which thousands crowded in the park and paid little attention to the public health directives in place, which required those not living in the same household to keep two metres apart.
While there is a province-wide stay-at-home order in effect until May 20, which requires people to leave their homes only for essential purposes, the city says these circles will help provide essential outdoor space to residents.
"The City recognizes that many residents living in apartment buildings and condominiums who do not have yards need spaces to get exercise and fresh air in City parks," a news release on Friday.
Circle gatherings are limited to people within one household, under the stay-at-home order. For people who live alone, they can merge with one other household.
Coun. Joe Cressy, who chairs the Toronto Board of Health and represents Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York, said opportunities to exercise and play outdoors are critical for mental and physical health.
"By wearing masks and distancing, people can enjoy our parks and recreational amenities without putting others at risk," he said in a statement.
"These circles at Trinity Bellwoods will help visitors enjoy the park while also staying apart and protecting one another."
On Friday, Toronto reported 1,329 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 new deaths, bringing the city's cumulative total of virus-related deaths to 2,991.
Since the start of the pandemic, the city has seen a total of 139,296 cases of COVID-19. In total, 122,576 people have recovered.
The city is urging residents to keep their distance from people from other households when outside of the home, to wear a mask and get vaccinated as soon as possible when they are eligible.