COVID-19 Updates - August 6th

Dear friends,

As the warm summer weather continues, and more businesses and attractions open back up, we must remember that COVID-19 is still present. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is a marathon, not a sprint. Although it is good news that our case numbers remain low, this virus will not go away tomorrow, next week, or next month. We must all remain vigilant and continue to do our part to keep each other safe. 

We all need to keep washing our hands, watching our distance, and wearing our masks. These actions, along with our other public health measures, have helped us to safely reopen parts of our city. 

We’ve made it this far, and I know we can continue to move forward together. 


Sincerely, 

Joe


In this Edition

  1. Stage 3 Reopening Updates
  2. COVID-19 Preys on Poverty - My op-ed in the Toronto Star 
  3. Mandatory Masks in Apartment and Condo Common Areas 
  4. Family Well-Being Plan to Connect People Experiencing Family Violence with Supports
  5. Residential On-Street Parking Permit Enforcement Begins August 14 
  6. Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
  7. Gardiner Rehabilitation Update and Traffic Restrictions
  8. Advice from Toronto Public Health on Safely Using Masks 
  9. Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
  10. COVID-19 Information and Resources

Stage 3 Reopening Updates 

Toronto is officially now in Stage 3. This means a number of city services and locations are in the process of reopening. A full list is available at: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-of-toronto-now-in-stage-3-reopening/

It is important to note that while more businesses and services are reopening, they still must comply with mandatory public health measures. In many places this means capacity limits to ensure adequate physical distancing. 

On Wednesday, new measures came into effect that require masks or face coverings to be worn in common areas in apartments and condominiums (such as lobbies, elevators, and common rooms). Like the City’s mask or face covering bylaw for indoor public spaces, this bylaw includes exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, and children under two years old.

Also, additional requirements for food and drink establishments to protect the health and safety of our communities by helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 came into effect. These measures were approved by City Council last week, and include requirements such as capacity limits, table distance, ensuring customers remain seated, and customer contact logs. 

As more of the city’s businesses continue to reopen, 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: https://www.toronto.ca/ReopenTO


COVID-19 Preys on Poverty - My op-ed in the Toronto Star 

Last week, I joined our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, along with Mayor Tory and Dr. Kwame McKenzie of the Wellesley Institute, for an update at City Hall on the socio-economic data for COVID-19 cases in our city. 

The data tells a story of two very different experiences of the pandemic — one for the privileged and one for everyone else.

Whether you get COVID-19 or not shouldn’t depend on how much money you make, or the colour of your skin, or what neighbourhood you live in. But the data shows that it does.

We can't let this continue. We need to work together and take bold action to address these health inequities in our city. You can read my op-ed here. 


Mandatory Masks in Apartment and Condo Common Areas

A temporary bylaw is now in effect requiring masks or face coverings in common areas in apartments and condominiums to protect the health and safety of our communities by reducing the spread of COVID-19. The strengthened safety measure responds to concerns that the opportunity for more close contact, especially in indoor settings, will result in more virus spread.

The new bylaw, recommended by the Medical Officer of Health and City Solicitor, will require building 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. 

Toronto Public Health has created guidance documents for commercial and residential buildings. The City has also created signage that building operators can print off and display in common areas. 


Family Well-Being Plan to Connect People Experiencing Family Violence with Supports

Last week, the City of Toronto announced the Family Well-Being Plan, developed in partnership with community agencies and social service providers, to highlight supports available to those who may be experiencing family violence during the pandemic. 

Inspired by the provincial #HereToHelpON social media campaign, the City of Toronto has partnered with various agencies to develop and implement #HereToHelpTO to connect residents to the various social service agencies, programs, and supports that are available to children, youth, and families experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect during this time.

By connecting with one of the service providers, residents can receive critical support, such as counselling, emotional assistance, safety planning, information, and referrals free of charge.

As the pandemic persists, many Torontonians continue to experience ongoing challenges and difficulty navigating supports. While these times may be isolating, no child, youth, or family in the city should feel alone. To access information, resources and tips, please visit toronto.ca/HereToHelpTO


Residential On-Street Parking Permit Enforcement begins August 14 

Starting Friday, August 14 at midnight, permit parking enforcement on residential streets in Toronto will resume. Enforcement, as well as the renewal and issuance of residential street parking permits, had been paused due to COVID-19. 

The period to renew existing parking permits, or purchase new, six and twelve-month on-street parking permits, began on July 2 when the parking permit office resumed operation. It was extended to Friday, August 7 to maximize the window for residents. All requests for six and twelve-month residential parking permits should be submitted as soon as possible to ensure permits arrive before August 14.

While the parking permit office remains closed to the public, it can be accessed in the short-term by phone at 416-392-7873 or email at permit.parking@toronto.ca, with extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday. Temporary daily and weekly parking permits can be purchased online anytime at toronto.ca/parking


Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health 

Our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and other City division leaders have been providing twice-weekly updates on the current situation and response to COVID-19 in Toronto. You can view the press conferences live at 2pm, and access past updates here

Yesterday in her update Dr. de Villa shared that our local numbers continue to be in the low double-digit range, which is good news. The team at Toronto Public Health continues to observe what is happening in other parts of Canada and beyond to see what lessons we can apply locally. In recent weeks they have observed some concerning increases in COVID-19 activity in some jurisdictions who had previously reported low or no virus activity for some time. 

While our numbers are holding steady, this doesn't mean we won’t see an uptick in COVID-19 in our city as we continue to reopen. These increases don't happen overnight. It can take up to 14 days to develop symptoms after being exposed to the virus and testing needs to be done before the positive results are then reported to public health and reflected in our numbers. This is why it is critical that we keep monitoring our numbers closely over the next few weeks to see how our reopening is impacting virus spread. 

Dr. de Villa also clarified some of the points around the expanded gathering limits that have come into effect since we moved into Stage 3. While the province's gathering limits have increased to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, our other critical public health measures have not changed. Even at a gathering, we must continue to:

  • Maintain our social bubble of no more than 10 people with whom we may have close contact;
  • Keep 6 feet from all people who are not in our social bubble;
  • Continue to use a mask in indoor public settings and when we cannot maintain physical distance outdoors;
  • Wash our hands often; and,
  • Stay home if we are sick. 

Dr. de Villa shared that another way that we can all do our part is by downloading Canada’s new COVID Alert app. It is a joint initiative of the Governments of Ontario and Canada and is now available for download at no cost from the Apple and Google Play app stores.  

The new COVID Alert app offers users the opportunity to quickly be informed if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can get tested right away to help protect themselves and those around them. Click here to download and learn more about the COVID Alert app.

Read Dr. de Villa’s full update here.


Gardiner Rehabilitation Update and Traffic Restrictions

Construction on the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets is entering a new phase. Crews have replaced the concrete deck and steel girders on the north half of the expressway, the westbound off-ramp to Sherbourne Street, and repaired the westbound off-ramp to Yonge-Bay-York Streets, and will now transition to repair the south half of the expressway for the final phase of work. The project is on-track for completion by spring 2021.

From the beginning of this project, I have stated my opposition to allowing overnight noise during 18 months of construction next to a neighbourhood with thousands of residents. Unfortunately, in late 2019 weeks of disruptive overnight noise required the intervention of my office to halt and to put in place a better construction program. I then helped create a Community Construction Liaison Committee with neighbourhood representatives and City staff to regularly review noise conditions and recommend any adjustments to construction methods for the duration of the project.

To sign up for weekly construction updates or to log any noise or construction issues, email gardinerrehab@toronto.ca

While construction crews work to fully replace the south half of the concrete deck and steel beams of the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets, the Gardiner Expressway will be reduced to two lanes in each direction from York Street to the Don Valley Parkway (DVP). The eastbound on-ramp at Jarvis Street remains closed for replacement. For full details please visit http://www.toronto.ca/JarvisToCherry


Advice from Toronto Public Health on Safely Using Masks

Under the Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw, everyone in Toronto is now required to wear a mask or face covering when entering indoor public spaces. Masks or face coverings are also mandatory when travelling on the TTC.

Click here for more advice from Toronto Public Health on how to safely wear a cloth mask or face covering. 


City of Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map

The City of Toronto has created a COVID-19 Essential Service Mapping Tool

This tool has up-to-date service listings across Toronto, including food banks, meal delivery programs, community health services and more. Additional layers and details are being updated daily by 211 Toronto. 


COVID-19 Information and Resources

It is important to stay informed through credible sources, and to follow the advice of our public health professionals. Together we can limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Please visit the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for the up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19

Government COVID-19 websites

City of Toronto
Province of Ontario
Government of Canada

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms.
Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Telephone: 416-338-7600
TTY: 416-392-0658
Email: PublicHealth@toronto.ca

311 Toronto
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.
Telephone: 311
TTY: 416-338-0889