TORONTO – “We are striving to save lives, protect the health of our residents, and keep our economy open. That is the real challenge of the resurgence, continuing to stop the spread of the virus without implementing another city and province-wide lockdown that will further cripple businesses, cost jobs, and hurt families. The action Dr. de Villa is taking today will close some businesses. They must close so that the vast majority of businesses can stay open. This is the type of tactical responses we will have to take when we find specific hot spots contributing to the spread of COVID-19. It is surgical. I hope the message of today’s initiatives being taken by the City and by the province is clear: we will not hesitate to take action to protect the health of Torontonians and the health of all Ontario residents,” states Mayor John Tory.
The moves are a part of the City of Toronto’s ongoing response to COVID-19, Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa is issuing four section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to close establishments to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the city. These orders will be effective once they are served, and Toronto Public Health will work with these operators to ensure that when they reopen, they do so safely.
“The recent day over day increases in COVID-19 are concerning and serve as a warning to our entire city. We’ve noted an increase number of cases and clusters in local bars and restaurant settings, and for that I was pleased to see that the Province acted swiftly to implement additional public health measures to protect residents. These further actions my team and I took today are intended to stop transmission of COVID-19. With this weekend just ahead of us, I ask that you too step up, by watching your distance, wearing your mask, and as always, taking care of each other,” says Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health.
The four orders to be served to local hospitality businesses are ordering their closure until they satisfy conditions to limit COVID-19 transmission in these settings. While the reasons for orders are distinct for each business, Toronto Public Health (TPH) investigations found that many people are connected to more than one of these businesses. Additionally, in some instances, people infected with COVID-19 were employed at more than one of the four locations. In another instance, one of the businesses served food buffet style, which is clearly prohibited under existing provincial regulations to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Most TPH investigations are completed in close cooperation with local businesses, with some exceeding our requirements. This includes closing voluntarily for deep cleaning or to adjust operating procedures. Others have implemented measures to protect staff, customers and broader public health. TPH extends thanks to these local businesses who are helping to reduce virus spread and keep residents safe.
Overall, Toronto Public Health has seen a recent increase in cases in the City. There is now a total of 18,363 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 236 cases since yesterday. There are 41 people hospitalized and 15,725 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 105 cases since yesterday. To date, there have been 1,178 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.
Two seasonal City of Toronto employees, who closely worked together have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating for 14 days, as per TPH guidelines. The employees last worked at the ferry docks between September 13 to 15 and September 20 to 22. Risk of exposure for the public is very low, as the employees worked outdoors and wore masks when dealing with the public. The City worked closely with TPH to identify and notify staff who may have come in contact with these employees and provided public health guidance.
As Torontonians enjoy the first weekend of fall, it remains critically important that residents continue to follow public health advice to stay home when ill, and to wash their hands often, practise physical distancing, and wear a face covering or mask in all indoor public spaces when going out.
TPH also stresses the important role the public plays in supporting contact tracing efforts and reducing virus spread. TPH also encourages residents to download the COVID Alert app, which can help to notify individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 in the community.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.