The City of Toronto has painted physical-distancing circles at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Thursday.
City crews began painting the white circles at around 8 a.m., in an effort to curb crowds and enforce physical distancing after thousands had descended on Trinity Bellwoods on Saturday.
“These circles are designed to allow people to come to the park, enjoy the park and be safe in the park by physical distancing,” Brad Ross, City of Toronto spokesperson, said.
Ross said the circles are about eight feet in diameter and allow for two people to lay down on a blanket or three people sitting cross-legged.
“Should you come to the park this weekend and all of the circles are occupied we would encourage you to come back later or access one of the other 1,500 parks that we have available across the city,” Ross said.
The City spokesperson also issued a reminder that open alcohol is not permitted in parks and to “leave the alcohol at home.”
Ross said the circle markings are environmentally friendly and is the same type of spray material used on sports fields that will withstand rain.
“It will last quite a while and it really is going to depend on the use,” Ross continued when asked how long the markings will last. “The grass is going to grow so we will have to revisit in the next seven to ten days when we have to cut the grass.”
The park can roughly fit 300-400 circles and cost the city roughly $12 a circle.
Ross said they are currently focusing on the area where the large crowds were on Saturday.
City officials said this is a pilot project and are looking at other parks in the city as well for circle markings.
On Saturday, people packed Trinity Bellwoods Park, ignoring social- and physical-distancing regulations set out by public health officials amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Some tickets were given out for public urination.
In terms of washrooms, Ross said that starting this weekend, the field house washroom at Trinity Bellwoods will be open. It is the first park washroom that will be open and washrooms across the city will begin to reopen starting Monday and into the weeks ahead.
Toronto fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is also the city’s emergency management office manager, said there will be a strong enforcement presence at Trinity Bellwoods Park this weekend.
“Our enforcement team will be present at Trinity Bellwoods Park to greet park users, to remind them about the importance of physical distancing and to take enforcement action as required,” Pegg said.
Officials, including Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen DeVilla, condemned the gatherings on Saturday, calling it “selfish and dangerous behaviour.”
Premier Doug Ford issued a warning to those at the park that day to “go get tested” for the virus.
Parks south of the border, such as in San Francisco, have also been painted with white circles to encourage physical distancing in outdoor spaces.