Stage 3 has arrived in Toronto just in time for the August long weekend, and that means the rules for what is and isn't allowed in parks and beaches have changed ever so slightly.
So before heading out to soak up the sun on this holiday weekend, make sure to be aware of the restrictions if you want to avoid having to pay a hefty fine.
According to the City of Toronto, most amenities in city parks are now open. This includes playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment, both of which reopened to the public as a part of Stage 3 this morning.
Updated signage with public health guidance will be posted to inform residents of the new rules, and playgrounds will not be routinely sanitized as per public health guidance.
The city's bylaw that requires everyone to maintain a distance of at least two metres from those outside their household or social circle in parks or public squares also remains in effect, so social distancing in parks is still a must this weekend.
And if the Simcoe Day weekend is anything like the other sunny summer weekends we've experienced in Toronto so far this season, overcrowding is likely to happen at the city's beaches along with a number of other prohibited activities.
Enjoy the city's beaches safely this season. Plan ahead to #StaySafe & help reduce the spread of #COVID19, & check beach water quality reports before you go to make sure the water is safe for swimming. More info: https://t.co/S8Cbg93FgR pic.twitter.com/xVuxo8QKLr— Toronto Public Health (@TOPublicHealth) July 25, 2020
"The City has seen a significant increase in the number of people at Toronto beaches late into the evening who are not practising physical distancing, or who are setting up DJ equipment, lighting bonfires, setting off fireworks, drinking excessively and leaving large amounts of litter behind," notes a news release from the city.
"As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, residents visiting a beach or park must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding."
As a result, parking restrictions will once again be in place at Toronto beaches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings starting at 7 p.m.
Marie Curtis Park, Humber Bay West Park, Humber Bay East Park, Cherry Beach and Bluffer's Park will all have restricted parking this weekend, and Toronto Police will be present at all parking lot entrances for enforcement.
Bylaw officers, Toronto Police and Toronto Fire will also be out in full force at beaches across the city in order to ensure that crowds, bonfires and other prohibited activities do not occur or are dealt with quickly when they do.
Disposable gloves and masks are being littered in Toronto’s public spaces. Keep our streets, parks & beaches clean by disposing of litter in public waste bins. Litter costs the City $27 million/year and comes with a fine of up to $500. More at: https://t.co/1b1ndSyT3J pic.twitter.com/LeNqEEVZz4— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) July 31, 2020
Parking enforcement will have a significant presence this weekend in order to tag and tow illegally parked vehicles in the vicinity of beaches where parking is restricted.
Lifeguards will be supervising swim areas at beaches from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, including the four Toronto Island Park swimming beaches.
The city is reminding residents that "there is plenty of room on the Island beaches," so visitors are encouraged to go to a different area is one beach is crowded.
Services and amenities that are open at Toronto Island Park include washrooms, a splash pad, a first aid station, William Meany Maze, some food and beverage outlets and disc golf.
Other Toronto Island Park public and commercial amenities, including Centreville and boat rentals, remain closed under the current Province of Ontario emergency orders.
This weekend is not a designated fireworks weekend. Fireworks on private property may only be used without a permit on Victoria Day & Canada Day. To use fireworks on private property any other day you must have a permit from Toronto Fire Services. https://t.co/Jc4ojAA7Fu— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) July 30, 2020
"Bonfires are not permitted on beaches. Likewise, organized parties, with excessive drinking and DJs with amplification of sound, are also prohibited," notes the release.
"Bylaw enforcement officers and Toronto Police will issue tickets related to bylaw infractions, including littering, and people are asked to take their garbage with them so it can be disposed of properly. Any overflowing bins or litter hot spots should be reported to 311."
by Mira Miller via blogTO