TORONTO — Last Tuesday, the Medical Officer of Health announced a number of public-health measures that were introduced when the City of Toronto moved into the provincial COVID-19 response framework on Saturday.
The recommendations came as the city saw its COVID-19 numbers going in the wrong direction. Beyond her recommendation that Toronto be moved into the Red – Control category in the provincial framework, Dr. Eileen de Villa introduced a number of directives to help reduce the spread of the virus. The city initially requested one additional week to prepare and monitor COVID-19 trends before being moved to the Orange – Restrict category but city officials determined Toronto requires strengthened protections and guidance for high-risk sectors and activities.
The new protections came into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and include strengthened COVID-19 precautions for businesses and public spaces:
• Meeting and event spaces will remain closed
• Indoor dining will remain closed
• Social gatherings should only be with those you live with and/or one or two essential supports
• Restrict close contacts only to those you live with and your essential supports
• Limit in-person activities outside the home to essential activities only – going to work or school, healthcare, shopping for your household and health needs and getting exercise and physical activity
• Businesses and workplaces should implement work-from-home wherever possible
• Businesses should review their HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order
• Workplaces should appoint a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control measures
• Indoor fitness classes are not permitted
• In malls, patrons should not be permitted to consume food or drink while walking through malls
• Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will remain closed
The above measures would be enforced under a combination of the Section 22 order and the province’s Reopening Ontario Act.