Are the rinks an outdoor gathering? Toronto mayor says new emergency coronavirus rules are unclear

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TORONTO – The Ford government has an explanation for the intricacies of its new stay-at-home order, Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday, saying the new rules did not specify whether outdoor amenities like ice rinks or toboggan runs must be closed or reduced.
As part of Ontario’s new second state of emergency, which comes into effect tomorrow, the province has released new rules for outdoor gatherings, reducing their size to five, but also referring to the closure of facilities exterior, without naming any specifically.

“It says here that no one is allowed to use indoor or outdoor recreational equipment that needs to be closed,” Tory told CP24 on Wednesday. “But that says the rinks can be open – we have 54 rinks or a number of rinks like that, so the question is, are they supposed to be open or closed?”

City spokesperson Brad Ross told CP24 that they are reviewing provincial legislation and will have more to say about how it affects outdoor activities this afternoon.

The excitement and confusion of legislative interpretation for municipal leaders in Ontario today will also understand how to interpret the new five-person limit for outdoor gatherings.

“It also states that public gatherings and organized social events are limited to five people,” Tory said. “So, is an ice rink an organized social or public event, right? We have a limit of 25 people on these rinks.

Tory said he welcomes the additional clarification provided by the Ford government today, saying ordinary people shouldn’t have to go through long documents to figure out how they can live their lives.

“The public shouldn’t be expected to do what I’m doing here, which is reading a 40-page document. The Ontario government, which is proposing these regulations, should explain exactly what these regulations are supposed to achieve.

Ontario officials are expected to clarify matters regarding the new home stay order and state of emergency on Wednesday.

Groups like the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have expressed concern over the decision to give peace officers “greater discretion” to coerce people who go out for non-essential reasons and whether the homeless will be disproportionately targeted.

Housing advocates are calling on the province to freeze residential evictions, which the province says could happen in “a few days.”

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