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Coronavirus: Man wears ‘social distancing machine’ to show Toronto sidewalks are ‘too narrow’

Toronto man wears ‘social distancing machine’ to show local sidewalks are too narrow
WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto geographer is using a large ring to study and demonstrate how difficult it is to keep a social distance of two metres in Toronto during the coronavirus pandemic. Tom Hayes reports.

A Toronto man wore a so-called “social distancing machine” while walking around the city in a bid to show that sidewalks are too narrow, particularly when people are being asked to physically distance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Daniel Rotsztain, who is part of the Toronto Public Space Committee — a group that advocates for more “inclusive and creative” public spaces — posted a video of himself trying out the creation while walking in various parts of the city.

The “machine” consists of a circle with a two-metre radius, which Rotsztain wears. He struggles to walk about the city, and even bumps into another pedestrian in the process.

READ MORE: ‘Zero tolerance’ for those who disobey physical distancing, Toronto police chief says

“I think even before COVID, you could say that pedestrians are jostling for space in Toronto, but COVID really exposed that,” Rotsztain told Global News Radio AM 640.

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“We wanted to demonstrate the absurdity of trying to do anything safely — this isn’t even about gathering, this is just about going to get your groceries. You can’t do that while maintaining six feet or you put yourself in danger by stepping into live traffic.”

Rotsztain said he wants to see city streets — or portions of streets — closed to traffic amid the pandemic to give pedestrians more room to maintain physical distance.

“Already on Twitter among people who are in the conversation of urban activism have been advocating for this for four weeks and my contribution to this was to take that conversation and make a really accessible video and I know a lot of people feel the same way,” he said.

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“I know (Mayor) John Tory today was talking about one-way sidewalks, but to me, that is a pretty absurd measure. It seems like you’re stretching trying to avoid closing the street to traffic at all.”

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Rotsztain said that while the video was exaggerated in some parts, he thought it has done well in supporting his argument.

Coronavirus: Can we ever return to normal during or after the COVID-19 pandemic?
Coronavirus: Can we ever return to normal during or after the COVID-19 pandemic?