TORONTO – Toronto is continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 activity as the city moves toward Stage 3 reopening.
“We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 right now, as we move into Stage 3, and in the event of a second wave. The measures proposed today put us in a better position to quickly and safely respond to whatever comes next. I am thankful for the work the Medical Officer of Health and City staff have done to move these measures forward. These measures will make sure we continue to do everything we can to protect the health of our residents and everything we can to protect our city’s restart and recovery,” says Mayor John Tory.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health states, “The recent increases in COVID-19 cases reported in other jurisdictions that have reopened before us serve as a stark reminder of the potential for this virus to spread if given the chance. My team continues to actively plan for a potential surge in COVID-19 activity, and this is why it is critical that appropriate measures are in place as we approach Stage 3 of reopening. These additional measures will reduce the risk of this virus spreading in our city and help keep our residents safe as we move forward living with COVID-19.”
“Toronto is making real progress in our recovery and rebuild. Businesses and restaurants are safely reopening and we are moving toward Stage 3. We must remain focused on doing everything possible to keep our people safe while we reopen our economy. We need these additional public health measures to keep Toronto moving forward as we continue to fight COVID-19,” added Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee.
Today, the City Solicitor and Medical Officer of Health submitted reports to City Council on measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in food and drink establishments, condominiums and apartment buildings, and strengthen the City’s response to a potential second wave of COVID-19 activity in our community.
As the City approaches Stage 3 of the reopening, the Medical Officer of Health and City Solicitor is recommending additional measures to prevent virus spread. The measures are in response to concerns that the opportunity for more close contact, especially in indoor settings, will result in more virus spread. The recommendations echo the letter sent from Mayor Tory to the provincial government on July 18 requesting that strengthened measures recommended by public health be implemented as part of the provincial Stage 3 order applied to Toronto.
While the Province of Ontario considers the implementation of these measures, the Council is in a position to take action that can complement any future action by the Province.
In food and drink establishments, recommended new requirements would include limiting indoor capacity and table size, maintaining customer logs to be used by Toronto Public Health for contact tracing purposes, and establishing staff screening protocols. Customers would also be required to remain seated at all times, except when entering or exiting, using the washroom, or paying. These requirements would be implemented through temporary provisions under Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing.
In condominiums and apartment buildings, Council is being asked to enact a temporary bylaw requiring owners or operators to have a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn by individuals in the enclosed common spaces, such as lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms, and post corresponding signage. Like the City’s existing mask or face covering bylaw, the recommendation includes exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, children under two years old, and other reasonable accommodations.
Residents can learn about what to expect and what is required as Toronto moves into the new normal and they begin to visit more establishments and take part in more activities at www.toronto.ca/ReopenTO.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.