Calling the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto “no less than alarming” Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city would move into the red (control) level of the province’s new coloured COVID-19 response plan on Saturday, but with added restrictions that would see indoor dining remain prohibited for a period of 28 days.
Gyms will be permitted to open, but indoor group fitness classes and group exercise classes will not be allowed.
The new protections, which come into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday include:
- 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, health care, 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 dining will remain closed
- Indoor fitness classes are not permitted
- Meeting and event spaces will remain closed
- 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
“These numbers set alarm bells ringing,” Tory added, noting that infection rates and hospitalizations in Toronto are spiking dramatically in recent days.
Under the province’s red level, indoor dining is permitted for a maximum of 10 people, and gyms can open with strict capacity limits of 10 people in indoor classes, 25 people in outdoor classes and 10 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment. But following the advice of the city’s top doctor, Eileen de Villa, Tory said the city has decided to forgo the opening of restaurants for indoor dining. Meeting and event spaces will also remain closed along with casinos and gaming establishments.
“The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto,” de Villa said.
On Wednesday, Premier Ford said the province accepts Toronto’s guidelines, adding that the provincial framework is a baseline for local authorities to build on.
Watch Premier Ford’s comments about Toronto’s decision below:
The province reported 1,328 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 520 cases in Toronto.
Peel region is currently the only other region under the province’s red level, but without Toronto’s added restrictions, meaning up to 10 people can dine indoors.