Preventing the spread of COVID-19 - Toronto's Medical Officer of Health strongly recommends dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres temporarily close

Dear friends,

After two months of non-stop preparations and planning in response to COVID-19, the City of Toronto is ready for any scenario. We are continuing to base our actions on the best experts and evidence, and will continue working closely with all levels of government to keep our community safe and healthy.  

Last week I provided updates on the City’s COVID-19 task force, and the activation of the City’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which is now operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

This afternoon, as part of the City’s ongoing response to COVID-19, in addition to the closure of City facilities, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa announced that she is strongly recommending all bars, dine-in restaurants, nightclubs, and theatres close to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 and encourage social distancing.

Businesses that provide food takeout and delivery options are encouraged to keep those available to continue to provide the public with food options while limiting social interactions between people.

Many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theatres have already taken the important step of voluntarily closing their doors to the seated public during the pandemic response. Dr. de Villa is encouraging the rest of the industry to follow that example for the health of our entire community.

Dr. de Villa warned that if businesses fail to comply with the recommendation, she will issue orders to individual establishments under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Dr. de Villa is recommending this unprecedented step to protect the health and safety of all Toronto residents and to further encourage residents to undertake social distancing – limiting their interactions with other residents to avoid the possibility of spreading COVID-19 through the community. Every social interaction that doesn't happen will further prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are all responsible for helping to prevent people from carrying the virus to vulnerable residents of our city, including seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions.

This is a critical time to flatten the growth curve of COVID-19 in our community and Toronto Public Health, along with the City of Toronto, is committed to doing everything possible – based on the expert advice of public health professionals - to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Toronto Public Health continues to encourage all residents to stay home if possible and reduce their interactions with other people.

Residents who have travelled outside Canada are strongly encouraged by Toronto Public Health to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Many residents work in frontline jobs in healthcare and emergency services, so they can't work from home. Dr. de Villa said the measures being urged today, provided the public follows them, will help protect those frontline workers and allow them to continue to do their jobs.

The City is also working to address the economic impact of COVID-19. The Mayor's Economic Support and Recovery Task Force was launched today along with the announcement of several measures aimed at providing immediate economic relief.

A full list of COVID-19 related City cancellations and closures are now listed online on  

311 and the Toronto Public Health Hotline are experiencing a very high volume of calls. Answers to the many questions residents have are available at By using this online resource, wait times can be reduced, allowing staff to address more complex questions over the phone.  

The City’s website will continue to be updated regularly as new information becomes available, and residents are encouraged to check back often for the latest information on programs and services: 

If you have any questions, please let me know.