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Coronavirus: man throws away caution tape surrounding London, Ont. playground

Confrontation in London, Ont., park over playground caution tape
A London, Ont man says he was walking in a park when he came across a man and a woman tearing caution tape off of a playground. He reported the incident to the city's new COVID-19 tipline.

On the same day the City of London launched a tipline for the public to report coronavirus-related violations, a local man reported two people allegedly tearing down the caution tape surrounding a playground in Gibbons Park.

Mike Cunningham posted a video to Facebook shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday showing a man holding caution tape walking alongside a woman. Cunningham and at least one other man and woman are heard off-camera expressing outrage.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — New city tipline looks to crack down on Londoners violating COVID-19 orders

“Nobody’s sick,” said the woman walking alongside the man holding the caution tape.

“We’re free, we’re free people,” the man said.

“Who do you see hacking up a lung right now?” the woman added.

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“Let’s follow them, let’s find out his licence plate,” said a man off-camera.

The man on video then throws the caution tape into a garbage bin before he and the woman split up. The camera follows the man up the sidewalk in the park’s parking lot.

“You’re a psycho, buddy. You’re psychotic,” the man said, turning back to Cunningham.

“No, you are. You’re psychotic. You’re the one that took the stuff down,” Cunningham said.

“How many kids’ lives are on your hands?” a woman’s voice can be heard yelling in the background off-camera.

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Caution tape has been put back up at Gibbons Park after it was removed on Friday. Sawyer Bogdan/Global News Radio 980 CFPL
gibbons park covid 19 coronavirus sign
A sign at Gibbons Park explains why the playground has been cordoned off. Sawyer Bogdan/Global News Radio 980 CFPL

“You’re stalking me,” said the man, before turning back towards Cunningham.

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“Tell me what your problem is,” he added.

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“You can’t take the stuff down,” another man said before Cunningham asked, “What makes you think you can take it down?”

“I’m a free man, I’m free,” the man responded.

READ MORE: City of London, Ont. closes all outside play structures amid COVID-19 pandemic

The argument continues before the man continues to walk away, calling the others “sick.”

“See, I told you he didn’t have a car,” Cunningham laughed as he continues to film the man as he leaves the parking lot.

“Of course he doesn’t,” said the other man off-camera.

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Coun. Shawn Lewis confirmed that the city had received the report, saying the city had put signage and taped the playgrounds so that it would be very clear that they are closed.

“There was one incident on the weekend of a couple tearing the caution tape off the playground. Not helpful, but that was thankfully reported to us so we could follow up on that,” he said.

“If we’re not respectful, then it means we’re going to have to put more restrictions.”

As of noon Monday, there was no word as to the status of the city’s investigation into the incident.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.