Coronavirus: Pandemic Means Long Hours, Adapting to Changing Rules for Toronto Rules Team – Toronto


TORONTO – For Toronto law enforcement officers, the pandemic means working long hours and quickly adapting to changing rules aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, said the chief of licensing and city ​​standards.Ensuring residents and businesses comply with a series of city bylaws – such as physical distancing rules in parks and customer diary requirements in restaurants – has kept by-laws staff busy for the past several months, Carleton Grant said, but the team remains focused on helping fight the virus.

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“We continue to adapt, to realign our resources and our needs,” Grant said in an interview this week.

“What we want to do is make sure that the spread of this virus does not continue due to the activity of certain companies or the activity in some of the places that we are responsible for enforcing.”

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Prior to the pandemic, Grant’s team of around 200 officers was responsible for enforcing city bylaws which include noise regulations, parks and business licenses.

After COVID-19 arrived, Grant said his officers needed to ensure residents abide by new regulations created to deal with the virus.

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City rules include the city’s physical distancing bylaw, which requires people who are not from the same household to stay two meters from each other in a park, beach or public square. Law enforcement officers can issue tickets with fines of up to $ 5,000 for non-compliance.

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For businesses, city-enforced regulations include requirements for distance between restaurant tables, customer record keeping in food establishments, and staff screening protocols.

Since March, the city has issued 80 charges and 383 notices to food service establishments that have not complied with Toronto’s COVID-19 regulations.

This week, Toronto announced an extension of several restrictions for the city, including a ban on dining in restaurants and indoor fitness classes, effective October 10.

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Grant said his team try to be patient when enforcing the rules and take action when needed.

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“If someone keeps breaking the same rule over and over again, there will be an active enforcement,” he said. “If the rules keep changing and you need a little education, that’s also important.”

Grant added that it was difficult to recruit new staff during the pandemic, due to the significant training needs that are hampered by COVID-19 and financial challenges.

“It’s a long process,” he said of hiring new agents.

“We’re just trying to keep our 200 agents at that level.”

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