COVID-19 Updates - July 23rd
We are fortunate in Toronto to be able to learn from the real-time experience of other cities across the country and around the world that are ahead of us in reopening. What we are seeing again and again is that the evidence points to the importance of a slow and cautious reopening. It is critical that we find the right balance so that our city can move forward in the safest way possible.
As businesses reopen and more people move around and connect in our city, there will be increased COVID-19 activity. This is why we must all remain vigilant. As we continue to move forward, please remember that our progress rests on all of us and the choices we make in the days and months ahead.
We’ve made it this far, I know we will continue to move forward by working together and looking out for one another.
In this Edition
- Statement in Support of Toronto Remaining at Stage 2
- Mask Policy Recommendations for Apartment and Condo Buildings
- Gardiner Rehabilitation Update and Upcoming Traffic Restrictions
- ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX - Free Outdoor Programs for Children and Youth
- Updates from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
- Advice from Toronto Public Health on Safely Using Masks
- Toronto COVID-19 Resource Map
- COVID-19 Information and Resources
Statement in Support of Toronto Remaining at Stage 2
Earlier this week, the Ontario Government announced that Toronto, along with Peel Region and Windsor-Essex, will not be transitioning to Stage 3 at the same time as other regions of the province. As Toronto's Medical Officer of Health has expressed concerns about Toronto's readiness for activities included in Stage 3, such as the reopening of bars and restaurants for indoor dining, I am glad to see the Province continue with a measured, cautious approach for our city.
Toronto, Peel Region, and Windsor-Essex continue to report the highest daily case counts across Ontario. While other local public health units are reporting single-digit increases or, in some areas, no new cases, Toronto is not there yet. The hard work and sacrifice of Torontonians has meant that we are trending in the right direction, but we still need to take precautions to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in our city.
Even when our public health data confirms that Toronto is finally ready to move to Stage 3, though, it doesn't mean we can let our guard down. In cities around the world, new outbreaks have been directly tied to bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, where people are in close contact indoors for extended periods, and alcohol is served.
That's why, as Mayor Tory noted in a letter to the Ontario Government this past weekend, we need additional measures to keep people safe when bars and restaurants do re-open for indoor dining, including capacity restrictions and screening protocols for staff, mandatory client contact logs, adjusted operating hours, and mask or face covering requirements. These are important measures that will go a long way towards keeping customers and staff safe, and reducing virus spread.
This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. The risk of COVID-19 will not go away until we have a widely-available treatment or vaccine. Until then, there is no "end" to this pandemic – areas that reported no new cases for weeks are once again facing outbreaks. We must continue to follow the best advice of our public health experts, including our Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, who have guided us this far. Rather than undo all our good work and effort of the past four months, we can continue to contain this pandemic, as long as we move forward one day at a time.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Recommends Apartment Buildings and Condos Adopt Mask Policy for Common Areas
To protect the health and safety of our communities, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is urging all apartments and condominiums to adopt a mask or face covering policy for common areas of shared residential buildings.
The recommendation comes following discussions with building residents, Toronto Public Health, and the Greater Toronto Apartment Association. Building owners and operators are strongly recommended to adopt a policy requiring anyone who enters or remains within the building, including residents, guests, property management and maintenance workers and other visitors who can wear a mask or face covering in areas including lobbies, laundry rooms and elevators, to do so. Toronto Public Health has created guidance documents for commercial and residential buildings. The City of Toronto has created signage that building operators can print off and display in common areas.
Toronto Public Health recommends wearing a mask or face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is spread through contact with the respiratory droplets produced by someone who is infected when they cough, sneeze, or even when they laugh or speak, including by individuals who may not have symptoms – known as being asymptomatic. Evidence suggests wearing a mask reduces the likelihood of droplets infecting those around an individual.
Residents are reminded that, under the City’s Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw, masks or face coverings are already required in all indoor public spaces to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Face masks and coverings do not replace the need to keep a distance of two metres or six feet from others, wash hands often and stay home when sick. A fact sheet on how to properly and safely wear and care for a non-medical mask is available on the City’s website.
Gardiner Rehabilitation Update and Upcoming 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 permitting 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 put in place 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Saturday, July 25 to Monday, July 27, there will be traffic restrictions on the Gardiner Expressway from the DVP to Jarvis Street to safely transition the work zone. For full details please visit http://www.toronto.ca/JarvisToCherry.
Due to the workzone transition, the ActiveTO major road closures on Lake Shore Boulevard East from Leslie Street to just south of Woodbine Avenue and Bayview Avenue from Front Street East to Rosedale Valley Road will be cancelled this weekend, July 25 and 26. The ActiveTO closure will continue to take place on Lake Shore Boulevard West from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. On the Civic Holiday long weekend, Saturday, August 1 to Monday, August 3, all ActiveTO major road closures are expected to be in effect.
During construction, Lake Shore Boulevard East will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Parliament and Jarvis Streets: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday to Sunday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Sunday to Thursday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. These lane restrictions are needed so crews can safely remove and replace sections of the concrete expressway deck above.
Residents, businesses and visitors are encouraged to use the City's web-based map at http://www.toronto.ca/roadrestrictions to help plan their travel and avoid road closures.
City of Toronto launches ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX to Provide Free Outdoor Programs for Children and Youth
Launched this past Monday in partnership with the City of Toronto and the MLSE Foundation, ParksPlayTO and Summer in the 6IX aims to engage Toronto youth, children and their families and help animate up to 100 local Toronto parks and outdoor spaces this summer.
ParksPlayTO offers free drop-in and activity-based, recreation programming Monday to Friday each week at multiple locations. ParksPlayTO will offer activities such as nature exploring, gardening, active games, arts and crafts, family fitness, story-telling and music circles for children and their caregivers. Any child age 12 and under accompanied by a caregiver age 18 or older can participate in ParksPlayTO. Caregivers can bring up to four children and must remain at the park to participate in the program. ParksPlayTO morning sessions will begin at 9:15 a.m. and afternoon sessions will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Summer in the 6IX is a free program designed for Toronto youth, aged 13 to 24, offering opportunities to drop in, meet up with friends and participate in fun, themed activities. Summer in the 6IX will offer a range of programming including dance, fitness, ecology and sports as well as leadership, employment, arts and media. Summer in the 6IX will be available to all Toronto youth at a variety of Toronto parks. There will be three sessions offered a day at multiple locations across the city seven days a week.
This year has been especially challenging for children and youth. The City and MLSE Foundation want to help Toronto children and youth recognize and reach their potential through these two new initiatives. MLSE LaunchPad coaches, alongside City recreation staff, will offer a variety of sport skills workshops in basketball, soccer, football and ball hockey. The workshops will provide a range of instructional and recreational activities that encourage skill development.
These two new programs were developed alongside Toronto Public Health with a strong focus on health and safety. Programming is designed for participants to maintain physical distance from other individuals and groups. Equipment will be sanitized between uses, or individual supplies will be provided. Staff will conduct a verbal health screening with each participant prior to the program start and collect caregiver or participant contact information. This information will be collected for Toronto Public Health, if COVID-19 contact tracing is required.
Registration is not required. You can just head to the park when activities are scheduled.
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 she and her team continue to observe and learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions who are ahead of us in their outbreaks. Recently the media has reported an increase in COVID-19 activity in many jurisdictions that reopened a few weeks ago, like Alberta and British Columbia. These jurisdictions have noted that their residents were no longer having safe social interactions and have confirmed that COVID-19 activity has been linked to young adults who contracted this virus at celebrations at private homes, bars and restaurants.
Locally, while our overall COVID-19 case numbers have decreased, new infections are still being reported every day. We are now seeing more 20 to 39 year olds getting COVID-19 compared to earlier in our outbreak. This is concerning given recent trends amongst this age group in other jurisdictions. Dr. de Villa’s message to all of us is that we must remain vigilant.
Dr. de Villa shared that we still need to continue carefully moving forward and observing the experiences of others who have reopened before us. Around the world the evidence points to the importance of a slow and steady reopening. This is why Toronto has asked for the province's Stage 3 order to consider enhanced safety measures for bars and restaurants, measures that apply lessons learned from other cities around the world. We continue to assess and reassess our local circumstances and will continue to identify ways to further enhance Stage 3 orders based on what we know today from the best available science and the experiences of other jurisdictions.
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
Call if you develop symptoms.
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services.