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Circles painted on grass coming to Trinity Bellwoods on Thursday to enforce physical distancing

City staff will paint circles on the grass at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Thursday to encourage visitors to the popular west end park to engage in physical distancing, Mayor John Tory says.

"Park staff will be in Trinity Bellwoods Park tomorrow painting circles on the grass of that park, which will both help to illustrate proper physical distancing and help with the measurements but also help to ensure compliance in a place where we simply have to do better," Tory announced on Wednesday.

"Social distancing circles," as they are known, have been painted in white on grass at parks in U.S. cities, namely Dolores Park in San Francisco and in Brooklyn's Domino Park in New York City.

On Monday, Tory announced that the city was exploring the idea of the circles painted on grass in parks to encourage physical distancing.

The painting at Trinity Bellwoods follows a weekend in which thousands crowded into the large green space on Saturday and paid little heed to public health directives to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Under a city physical distancing bylaw, people not living in the same household are required to keep two metres apart or face being ticketed when they are in public parks and squares.

And under a provincial emergency order, gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.

© Noah Berger/Associated PressAn aerial view of 'social distancing circles' in San Francisco's Dolores Park on Thursday, May 21.

The mayor said on Monday that city staff are reviewing "what went on" at the park to ensure it doesn't happen again while the city continues to grapple with a major COVID-19 outbreak. 

The park, located several blocks west of Bathurst Street, is sandwiched between Dundas Street West to the north and Queen Street West to the south.