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Officials warn not to ease up on physical distancing during nice weather

KITCHENER — The nice May weather should be no reason to ease up on physical distancing guidelines, according to officials.

Sunday temperatures in Waterloo Region reached a high of 21 degrees Celsius, and many people could be seen enjoying the warmth in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.

“I was a little split between getting a little bit of sanity and trying to be safe,” one park patron told CTV Kitchener.

Another resident says it was nice to be with their family outside of the house doing something different.

“We recognize that your physical and mental wellbeing, particularly on a nice sunny day, is important,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “We encourage people to do outings in their neighbourhoods and some people choose to wear a mask and that’s okay.”

City officials add that the park should not be the destination.

“You can attend a park if you’re using it as a walk through," said Gloria MacNeil, Director of Encforcement for the City of Kitchener. "That’s all you can do there.”

Five Kitchener bylaw officers at a time were out patrolling the city in the morning.

“It probably isn’t a sufficient number,” said MacNeil. “We have approximately 220 parks but five is basically what we have from a resourcing perspective."

As of 6 p.m., bylaw says didn’t issue any violations or warnings, only education.

The first and only violation in Kitchener was given out several weeks ago.

“For the most part people are very compliant,” said MacNeil.

A resident tells CTV Kitchener they’re happy to follow the rules if it means they can leave their house and enjoy the sunshine.

“I see so much respect and kindness and consideration and compassion,” they say. “It’s inspiring.”

MacNeil adds they plan to increase the number of bylaw officers across the city and continue educating the public during the pandemic.

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