City of Toronto bylaw extensions recommended to reduce COVID-19 spread
COVID-19 continues to circulate at high levels across Toronto. The Province of Ontario’s state of emergency and stay-at-home order remain in effect for Toronto and across the province. To limit opportunities for virus spread, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is recommending the extension of City of Toronto COVID-19 temporary bylaws until City Council’s June meeting.
Toronto Mayor John Tory says, “We took action, based on public health advice, to implement the mandatory mask bylaw and others last year to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city. Once again, our public health officials have made it clear these measures need to be extended in order to keep up our fight against the virus. Thank you to everyone who continues to follow the public health advice. This is the right thing to do. Your actions, wearing a mask, keeping your distance from others, avoiding gatherings with people outside your household, and washing your hands, will help keep you healthy, protect your family and loved ones, and help save lives.”
The extension recommendation is for bylaws that were originally set to expire at the end of the February 2 and 3, 2021 City Council meeting and include:
· The Physical Distancing in Public Spaces bylaws (322-2020 and 323-2020)
· The Mandatory Mask bylaws (541-2020 as amended by 664-2020); and
· COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings and the COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 545, Licensing.
In addition to these bylaw extensions, it is further recommended that the Medical Officer of Health continue to conduct a monthly assessment regarding the need to continue each bylaw. Based on this assessment, the Medical Officer of Health may report to City Council to recommend ending, extending or amending these bylaws before the expiry date.
COVID-19 continues to remain a high risk for residents, especially as cases of new variants of concern have been confirmed in Ontario and the city. It is more important than ever to stay at home and leave the house only for essentials such as essential work, food shopping, medical appointments, and exercise. Residents are urged to limit their interaction with those outside their households and continue to practice the steps of self-protection: wearing masks, keeping a safe distance of a least six feet/two metres, washing hands regularly and staying at home if feeling ill.
Please review the City’s simple “Dos” and “Don’ts” guide for recommended and mandatory public health measures. The guide communicates some of what is and what is not, permitted under the provincial Lockdown Regulation that remains in effect and the new stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The guide can be found on the City of Toronto Website.
“At this critical stage in our fight against COVID-19, we must use every tool we have to keep one another safe. Right now, that includes extending the City of Toronto bylaws mandating mask usage and physical distancing requirements. While I know we all want this period to be over, these measures will help us continue to protect ourselves and others at a time when it’s more important than ever,” states Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health.