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Coronavirus: London, Ont. enhancing physical distancing measures

Playground atGibbons Park in London Ont. blocked off because of COVID-19 closures .
Playground atGibbons Park in London Ont. blocked off because of COVID-19 closures . Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

To combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the City of London, Ont., has taken steps to remind people to practice physical distancing on sidewalks, roads, and parks.

While Ontario health officials suggest staying home whenever possible, they say when leaving to get essential supplies or exercise, people should keep a two-metre distance away from others to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The province has also issued a ban on all gatherings of more than five people.

“Safely maintaining physical distance is extremely important at all times when travelling on London’s roadways and multi-use pathways – especially on bridges and when passing each other,” the statement from the City said.

READ MORE: Social distancing is out, physical distancing is in — here’s how to do it

As part of the new plan, signs will be installed at some bridges and pedestrian tunnels instructing people to stop and wait for oncoming pedestrians to pass before crossing.

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The City is also making sidewalks on Highbury Avenue that go over railway bridges one-way for walking traffic. At these sections, signs will be placed at the nearest intersection to direct people which side of the street to be on — one side for northbound travellers and the other for those walking south.

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The City will also be enforcing closures already in places at playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields, dog parks, and community gardens.

Confrontation in London, Ont., park over playground caution tape
Confrontation in London, Ont., park over playground caution tape

Over the weekend, the City is reminding residents that they will continue to monitor outdoor spaces and that anyone not complying with the closures will face fines.

READ MORE: Spot a COVIDIOT? Here’s how to report coronavirus rule-breakers

Under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, police and anyone else with designated enforcement powers are able to levy fines. Under this act, people could face fines up to $750.

Over a week ago, the City of London started a tipline in partnership with the London Police Service and the Middlesex-London Health Unit to catch those that are not following the closures related to COVID-19.

Londoners who know someone not following the rules can use the tipline by emailing COVIDOrderConcerns@london.ca or dialing 519-661-4660.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What’s open, closed — and cancelled — in London, Ont.

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

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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.