A new viral video shows the reality of trying to observe social distancing while walking down a city street, with the use of a hilarious prop. Author Daniel Rotsztain created a video last week showing his so-called "social distancing machine," which made it hard for him to navigate the streets of Toronto, Canada. Rotsztain used his experiment to advocate for more extreme road closures for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rotzstain's video is now circulating on both Twitter and YouTube, with thousands of eyes on it. It show Rotsztain fitting what looks like an over-sized hula hoop around himself, using bungee cords to drape it over his shoulders. In text laid over the video, he explains that it creates two meters of space around him — the metric equivalent of six feet. He then tries — and mostly fails — to walk through different parts of the city without bumping into other people.
"We are socially distancing, but we still need to go outside for groceries, exercise, and essential work. Are Toronto's sidewalks wide enough to be safe?" Rotsztain wondered as he put the "machine" on. He then marked different parts of the city where he tried it out, adding humorous speech bubbles to the other pedestrians he inconvenienced along the way.
Rotsztain noted that, in many parts of the city, the only safe way to maintain social distance with mild foot traffic was to veer out into the street. He also pointed out places where construction equipment and other obstacles limited movement. Without his device, it might have looked like his spacing was about right, but he showed how many people were cutting it too close.
"Toronto needs more space for pedestrians to stay safe!" he wrote. "The City needs to close streets like Yonge to cars so we can keep our 2 [meter] distance. Brampton, Vancouver, Edmonton and Montreal have done it. We can too!"
Rosztain urged his followers and other viewers to contact Toronto Mayor John Tory, tagging Tory and the official City of Toronto Twitter accounts. His video has been circulating for almost a month now, and has thousands of likes and retweets. The latest update from Rotsztain says that Ottawa and New York City have now taken steps to protect pedestrians as well, but Toronto has not.
For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.