COVID-19 Updates - December 20, 2021

Dear Friends,

The new highly-transmissible Omicron variant is here in our city and the situation is serious. But if we work together once again, we can overcome this new challenge too.

Team Toronto is working around the clock on a war-time mobilization to continue scaling up and expanding our capacity to deliver vaccine doses as quickly as possible. In just the past week we tripled our capacity, and as this work continues you will see more appointments and walk-in opportunities come online.

Our pharmacy, hospital, and public health workers are cancelling their holidays to keep us all safe and help get vaccines in arms. City of Toronto staff are being redeployed across departments. Everyone is stepping up. 

We must all do our part. Please, reduce your contacts this holiday season. Stay home if you have symptoms. Wear your mask. Most importantly, get your next vaccine dose as soon as you can, and help your loved ones to do the same.

Sincerely,

Joe


 

In this Edition

  1. Everyone 18+ Eligible for Boosters
  2. Additional Public Health Measures
  3. Toronto Mask Bylaw Extended
  4. More than 400 Kids Vaccinated at Toronto Zoo
  5. Changes to City Services
  6. ActiveTO Bike Lanes Are Here to Stay
  7. Vacant Homes Tax Approved
  8. Parking Minimums Eliminated
  9. Cherry Street South Bridge Arrives in Port Lands
  10. Holiday Waste Collection Schedule

1. Everyone 18+ Eligible for Boosters

Today, all those 18 years and older who had their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine more than three months ago became eligible for a third dose, or booster, vaccine. 

Every part of Team Toronto has been working to increase vaccination capacity including:

  • The five City-run mass immunization clinics and mobile clinics
  • More than 500 pharmacies across Toronto
  • Primary care providers
  • Hospital clinics
  • Ontario Health Teams

In just the last week, Team Toronto’s total capacity to administer vaccinations has roughly tripled from 400,000 doses per month to more than 1.2 million doses per month, and we’re not done yet. The City and Toronto Public Health continue to work with all health care partners and the Government of Ontario to further ramp up booster dose capacity.

More appointments and walk-in opportunities will come online as we work around the clock to further expand our capacity to deliver vaccinations to everyone who is eligible. 

Everything you need can be found by starting with the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 web page.

Our work to bring 1st doses to kids ages 5-11, and 1st & 2nd doses to youth 12-17, is not slowing down either. Kids can get vaccinated at many of the same clinics as adults. To find out more, see our web page dedicated to Vaccines for Children & Youth.


2. Additional Public Health Measures

On Friday, the Province of Ontario announced additional public health measures that came into effect over the weekend, including:

  • Capacity in a range of indoor public settings is reduced to 50%;
  • Places that serve food and drink are required to close indoor dining at 11 pm, with alcohol sales ending by 10 pm;
  • Food and drink services are prohibited at indoor sporting events; concert venues, theatres and cinemas; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues;
  • Social gathering limits are reduced to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

You can read the Province’s announcement for more details.


3. Toronto Mask Bylaws Extended

On the advice of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, City Council has extended COVID-19 bylaws through to the spring. 

The City of Toronto's mask bylaws require everyone to wear masks in all indoor public settings such as businesses and in common areas in multi-unit residential buildings including apartments and condominiums. Rental apartment buildings are also required to provide hand hygiene stations or hand sanitizer in common areas, close non-essential common areas consistent with provincial restrictions, increase cleaning, and post Toronto Public Health COVID-19 signage.


4. More than 400 Kids Vaccinated at Toronto Zoo

We’re making vaccination a fun and welcoming event because our priority is making sure that getting vaccinated is accessible for every family. Our Team Toronto partners at Scarborough Health Network and the Toronto Zoo put so much time and energy into planning a special event for our city’s kids this weekend.

It was my pleasure to visit the Toronto Zoo youth vaccine clinic with Mayor Tory and local councillor Jennifer McKelvie where over 400 kids were vaccinated and enjoyed complimentary passes to see the Zoo afterward. 

More vaccination clinic information is available on the City’s COVID-19: Children & Vaccines webpage.


5. Changes to City Services

In adherence to the latest public health measures announced by the Province of Ontario, some changes have been made to City services including:

  • Capacity in indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities, including arenas, fitness centres, weight rooms and community recreation centres, is reduced to 50 per cent
  • Capacity for social gatherings such as birthday parties and community meetings is reduced to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors
  • Capacity for drop-in leisure swim is reduced to 50 per cent
  • Lane swims will be reduced to three people per lane (effective December 24, when current reserved bookings expire)

Following guidance from Toronto Public Health, masks will be required for all indoor activities in City recreational facilities, including while engaging in physical activity, except while swimming or where there is a medical exemption.

There are no impacts to Holiday CampTO which continues to follow provincial day camp guidelines. For more information, please visit: toronto.ca/campTO.

The City of Toronto continues to review the Provincial regulations to determine operational impacts to City facilities, programs and services, and will continue updating its website with the most current information as quickly as possible. For more information, please visit the Changes to City Services page at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/affected-city-services/.


6. ActiveTO Bike Lanes Are Here to Stay

Last year, we made a tremendous leap forward on a safe and comfortable cycling network by piloting new cycle tracks on University Avenue, Bloor Street, and Danforth Avenue. And this month, City Council made them permanent.

The data showed these new routes were a hugely popular success. On University Avenue alone, where essential workers have continued to report to work every day of the pandemic, cycling volumes roughly doubled and travel times for motor vehicles were virtually unchanged. Cycle tracks have made our streets more efficient at moving people, safer for everyone, and more sustainable.

Ride on, Toronto. 


7. Vacant Homes Tax Approved

City Council has approved the new Vacant Homes Tax to come into effect in January 2022 as a measure to help discourage property owners from leaving units empty, and instead to promote making empty units available to people to rent. Any revenue from the new tax will be allocated to affordable housing programs. 


8. Parking Minimums Eliminated

In alignment with our climate change mitigation strategy called TransformTO, City Council has approved the elimination of most parking requirements in new developments. Requirements for accessible parking, bicycle parking, and electric vehicle charging will be maintained or enhanced. Residents of new developments constructed in the future will no longer qualify for the on-street permit parking program.

This change will help to support active, sustainable, low-carbon transportation. It is also a benefit to the roughly 40% of households who live in condos and apartments without owning a private motor vehicle, who must pay rent or fees to maintain an often underused parking garage, and even to own their own private parking space that sits empty.


8. Cherry Street South Bridge Arrives in Port Lands

Earlier this month, the Cherry Street South Bridge arrived in the Port Lands on a barge from Nova Scotia.

The 110-metre long bridge will span the future mouth of the Don River, where Cherry Street currently meets the Polson Slip. This is the third bridge to be delivered as part of the Port Lands Flood Protection project, with the final Cherry Street North vehicular bridge scheduled to arrive in Spring 2022.


8. Holiday Waste Collection Schedule

There will be no impacts to curbside residential waste collection during the holidays. Please place your waste out for pickup on your regular collection day. Find your schedule for the remaining weeks of this year and for 2022 here: https://www.toronto.ca/collection-schedule/.

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