Mayor of Toronto John Tory announced on Tuesday that the City would be placing a ban on City-led public events and social gatherings in order to promote social distancing and to combat the spread of COVID-19. This ban will go through June 30.
According to the official release, the ban includes “City-led major mass participation events.” This includes things like events, festivals, conferences, cultural programs, and all City permits for events planned by external groups at city centres, parks, and public spaces. The entire announcement can be read below:
Today we announced the cancellation of mass events permitted by the City through to June 30th. While the City recognizes the importance of special events and festivals to the livability and vitality of the city, protecting the health and safety of residents is of primary concern. pic.twitter.com/m6xcS70Gyn
— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 31, 2020
Earlier in the week, we learned that Major League Baseball is hoping to get the 2020 season kicked off sometime between June 1 and July 1. There apparently isn’t an appetite for a prolonged stretch of games played in front of empty stadiums, but MLB and the Players’ Association are planning for the possibility of doing so for a buffer period. They’ve also considered playing games in neutral locations in areas that haven’t been affected as much by the virus.
Shi Davidi later clarified that professional sporting events do not require a City permit, so a baseball game wouldn’t technically be banned under this direction from the local government. The Provincial government banning large gatherings would block the Jays from playing games, so nothing has really changed with this announcement.
Still, this ban is a sobering reminder of just how wildly optimistic MLB’s goal is of kicking off their season at some point in June. We’ve got a long way to go still.