Ontario Government Announces New Public Health Measures for Toronto

Dear friends,

Today marks a turning point in our ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As the second wave continues to spread through our city, the Ontario Government has moved forward with targeted new public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region. This is an important step, and I want to thank the Province for this critical intervention.

The new measures announced by the Province this afternoon mean that effective at 12:01 am tomorrow (Saturday), the following applies:

  • Indoor dining and drink service at bars, restaurants, and nightclubs is prohibited (outdoor service on patios and takeout and delivery are still allowed)
  • The following businesses must close: indoor gyms and fitness centres; casinos and bingo halls; indoor cinemas; and performing arts centres and venues
  • Restrictions on certain personal care services where masks or face coverings are removed (i.e., makeup application, beard trimming)
  • Reduced capacity limits for the following: meeting and event spaces (including banquet halls), real estate open houses, and more will be limited to 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors
  • Sports teams are limited to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).

The measures will be in place for 28 days, at which point they will be reviewed again by the Ontario Government.

Schools, child care centres, after-school programs, and places of worship are not impacted by the new measures, and will continue to remain open. These places must continue to follow other public health guidelines that have already been in place.

More detailed information is available here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58767/ontario-implementing-additional-public-health-measures-in-toronto-ottawa-and-peel-region

With everything we have been through this year, I know how frustrating it can be to feel like we are moving backwards. Over the summer, a period of stabilization felt like progress towards getting this pandemic under control. But unfortunately, COVID-19 doesn't move in a straight line. We are in the second wave – and without these new measures now, it will almost certainly be more serious than the first.  

We are asking all Torontonians, but especially workers and business owners in the entertainment and hospitality sectors, to make tremendous sacrifices. The City of Toronto is committed to doing everything we can to support these industries, and to continue to work with the Federal Government to implement financial relief for affected employees and businesses during this unprecedented time.

I know that the measures announced today will provide challenges for many in our city. But our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, has advised that they are absolutely necessary. These are the actions we must take if we want to keep schools and child care centres open, so children can learn and parents can work. It's what we have to do to make sure our hospitals don't become overwhelmed. And it's what is necessary to stop transmission of this virus, and help save lives.

Together, we can do this.

Sincerely, 

Joe Cressy
Chair, Toronto Board of Health
City Councillor, Ward 10 (Spadina-Fort York)
councillor_cressy@toronto.ca


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 regular 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

Today Dr. de Villa shared that in Toronto there have been almost 2,000 COVID-19 cases reported during the first 8 days of October. This figure represents almost 10% of all our cases since the beginning of the pandemic. In just 8 days.

With today's announcement from the Province on new public health measures, Dr. de Villa shared that we are positioned to challenge the spread of COVID-19 but we cannot forget it is always ready to erupt - if we let our guard down in our daily lives. She said it is likely there will still be several weeks of sobering news to come, but there is now reason to believe that through these temporary restrictions we can blunt the toll that the resurgence will take.

We know that these new measures will greatly affect many businesses and workers in our city. Dr. de Villa emphasized that those of us who are less affected can show our respect - for those of whom we’re asking so much - by acting in ways that will make it harder for COVID-19 to spread.

That is what we need - reduced spread means lower infection rate, which means a healthier, safer Toronto where people can work more and connect more. 

But until then we have the next few weeks to get through and, in the next few days, Thanksgiving.

Dr. de Villa is again advising that you are safest spending Thanksgiving only with the people you live with in your home.

This weekend and in the weeks ahead, always ask yourself these questions:

  • Is where I’m going something I need to do or something I want to do?
  • And if it’s just something I want to do, can I put it off?
  • In either instance, what can I do to make it lower contact?  
  • Can it be outdoors, how much am I able to stay at least six feet apart from others?

These things are important because the changes we’re about to make in city life will take time to show results. Lower infection rates won’t happen overnight, but we are all united in the fight against COVID-19. 

Read Dr. de Villa's full update here


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