TORONTO: New pandemic restrictions imposed by Canada‘s most populous province immediately ran into opposition on Saturday as police departments insisted they wouldn’t use new powers to randomly stop motorists and health experts complained the rules focus on outdoor activities rather than more dangerous indoor settings.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government announced Friday it was giving police authority to require anyone not at home to explain why they’re out and provide their address. Tickets can be written.
But at least a dozen forces throughout Ontario, including in the capital of Toronto, said there will be no random stops of people or cars.
“We are all going through a horrific year of Covid-19 and all associated with it together. The (department) will NOT be randomly stopping vehicles for no reason during the pandemic or afterwards,” Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner tweeted.
The new rules limit outdoor gatherings to those in the same household and close playgrounds and golf courses. The decisions sparked widespread criticism in a province already on lockdown. Restaurants and gyms are closed as is in-class schooling. Most nonessential workers are working from home.
Ford complained about crowded parks and playgrounds, but at Friday’s new conference did not mention workplaces considered essential, such as factories, where the virus is spreading
“What we need: increased restrictions to reduce indoor contact, supports for frontline essential workers, paid sick leave, a re-prioritized vaccine rollout for hard-hit communities,” tweeted Joe Cressy, who is on Toronto’s city council.
“What we got: the closure of outdoor amenities, which we need to keep people safe and healthy.”
“I have yet to intubate a Covid patient who had become infected from being in a playground,” tweeted Dr. Ian Preyra, who works at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario.
“Warehouse worker, truck driver, construction worker … not one of my Covid patients today acquired this at the park. They are angry and they have no voice. Shameful,” tweeted Dr. Aman Sidhu, a lung doctor in Toronto.
Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto, said that closing playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities “will

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