GSL Associate Director Interviewed about Trinity-Bellwoods Controversy and Connection to Government Messaging

Mass gathering at Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods park during COVID-19

On May 25, GSL Associate Director Patrick Fafard appeared on the CBC’s afternoon drive show All in a Day, to discuss the previous weekend’s mass gatherings at Trinity-Bellwoods Park in Toronto and if government messaging was to blame for people not following social distancing measures.

In the interview, Fafard explained that he was not surprised that so many people gathered in the park. After a rather cold spring, coupled with severe lockdown measures, people were itching to go outside. He said the weather, coupled with people’s fatigue with the social distancing measures has shown that the public health messaging might not be as effective anymore as it was at the outset of the pandemic.

Fafard suggested that this troubling turn of events might be mitigated by having public messaging that isn’t as “black and white” as it has been until now. The messages at the outset of the crisis were simple and now will be more complex and nuanced. But the government could make clear that there are different rules in different jurisdictions based on case numbers, that small gatherings are safer outside than inside, and that people should not forget how deadly this virus is.

Furthermore, Fafard explained that it is crucial that if one breaks social distancing rules, that they come forward. This is vital for tracing the virus and should also apply to public officials – hinting at the row over political strategist Dominic Cummings in the UK, and Premier Doug Ford changing rules on the fly to accommodate a family gathering over the long weekend.

Listen to the full interview here.


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