COVID-19 Update, April 27

Thank you to everyone who called and emailed to request for more road allocation to accommodate proper physical distancing on our sidewalks. Today, the City has partially responded by announcing the creation of CurbTO, a new initiative to help increase space for pedestrians trying to get around line-ups outside essential businesses and other sidewalk pinch points. This temporary change to road operations will also create Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones for drivers and delivery agents, to expedite medicine and food pick-ups and allow for parking for up to 10 minutes in close proximity to the desired essential business in otherwise restricted parking areas. 

This initiative – which will expand to more than 100 locations across the city – begins with the immediate curb lane installations at 10 hotspots along busy retail main streets, including: 

  1. Carlton Street and Church Street – Pedestrian zone (Ward 13) 
  2. Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian & Parking zones
  3. Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue – Pedestrian zone
  4. Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue – Parking Zone
  5. Front Street East and Berkeley Street – Pedestrian & Parking zones (Ward 13)
  6. Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street – Pedestrian zone (Ward 13) 
  7. Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian & Parking zones
  8. King Street West and Spadina Avenue – Parking zone
  9. Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street – Pedestrian & Parking zones
  10. Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue – Pedestrian zone

Please remember that Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones are not intended to be space that encourages people to gather. You are still required to stay home as much as possible. For more information about CurbTO, please see today’s City of Toronto update below. 

If you would like to identify areas of sidewalk crowding, please call 311 or email my office at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca

Province Unveils Plan to Re-Open Ontario

Today, Premier Doug Ford unveiled his government's roadmap to re-open the province after COVID-19. This roadmap is welcome - I believe it is important for everyone in Ontario to understand that this will be a careful and gradual process. As the Premier stressed today, this plan addresses the matter of how, not when businesses will reopen.     

It is also a relief to see that through our collective action of staying home and physically distancing, we're beginning to turn a corner in the COVID-19 outbreak. To be clear that there are no dates yet assigned to this plan, so our hard work is not over yet. Please continue to stay home unless absolutely necessary if you are able, and practice enhanced sanitation protocols. 

I know many residents in Ward 13 will be pleased to see that Stage 1 includes plans to open some outdoor spaces like parks and allow for a greater number of individuals to attend some events, especially as the weather gets better. I am also happy to see that select businesses and workplaces will be able to open if they can meet public health guidelines. This will be a relief for many small businesses. 

Of course, with all of these plans, the details will be important. We need to understand how the easing of these restrictions will impact the City of Toronto’s own emergency protocols. Considering the immensity of Ontario, there will need to be a different approach for different parts of the province. 

Furthermore, while I am pleased to hear that the Government of Ontario intends to consult with residents about our recovery plan, I wish that the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee included Members of Provincial Parliament from the opposition. There has been remarkable collaboration between governments from across the political spectrum recently, and I want to see that continue into our recovery. After all, we are stronger together.

Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.

Kristyn


Community Care in Ward 13

Today’s Community Care shout out goes to the folks at Metropolitan United Church on Queen Street East and several local restaurants along the strip. Knowing that small businesses are being hit hard right now and knowing that drop-in centres are finding it increasingly difficult to feed those who come to their doors, the Metropolitan United Church have started a restaurant “chit” program. They’ve begun partnering with local restaurants to provide pre-paid nutritious take out meals to those who present a chit. The three participating local restaurants include Shawarma King, King Place Restaurant and Food Factor located at 464 Sherbourne Street. Thank you for supporting local businesses and our vulnerable residents.

Metropolitan United ChurchPlease continue to email my office at councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca to share examples of community care in your neighbourhood and ways you are supporting your community at this time. I’ll be happy to promote it, space permitting, in our communication to the residents and business owners in Ward 13. Every bit goes a long way!


Keep Practising Physical Distance!

As the City of Toronto evokes these new measures for public health, please remember to keep practising social distancing. I know it’s challenging, and I thank you for your continued hard work. Please remember to stay off of closed parks amenities and facilities, or you may be subjected to a fine. If you must leave your home, please stay at least 6 ft (2 metres) away from others on the streets. These measures are crucial to protect the greater public health.

Physical Distance

The single best way for Torontonians to support each other right now is to stay home and practise physical distancing to prevent COVID-19 spread. 

Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect our communities. For more tips on social distancing, please visit toronto.ca/covid19.


City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates 

Shelter Support and Housing

Toronto’s Shelter, Support & Housing Administration (SSHA) continues to work with Toronto Public Health, other City divisions, provincial and federal governments, and the community non-profit sector to find solutions for the city’s most vulnerable.

The City is working with Toronto Community Housing and other housing providers on a rapid housing initiative, which has enabled people to move out of shelters and into permanent housing. More than 250 units have been identified for this initiative. Seventy-three people have moved into new homes, and still others are being actively matched with housing. Thank you to staff for the work that’s being done to address homelessness but I know we need to do better and move more nimbly to help our most vulnerable. Read the full news release here. 

CurbTO

I know many of you have reached out with concerns about maintaining physical distancing on our sidewalks in the Downtown core. With little green space, and tight residential buildings, it is very challenging as we leave our homes to make essential trips. While everyone is urged  to stay home as much as possible, the City of Toronto, along with Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services have established an initiative called CurbTO launching April 27. This initiative – which will expand to more than 100 locations across the city – begins with the immediate curb lane installations at 10 hotspots along busy retail main streets.       

The city has worked to identify key hot spots, around essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants/bars and community agencies, where there are lineups or pinch points on sidewalks. Health officials have determined these spots need to be addressed to continue to encourage physical distancing. While this work will continue, they will be rolling out fixes at an initial 10 spots across the city starting today. This initiative will also increase access to temporary parking opportunities for quick food and medicine pick-ups and deliveries which are at an all-time high as residents work to respect Toronto Public Health guidelines.

CurbTO Program Initiatives                   

  1. Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones will increase space for pedestrians trying to get around line- ups outside essential businesses and other pinch points as identified by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services.
                           
  2. Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones will provide an opportunity for drivers and delivery agents to expedite medicine and food pick-ups by allowing them to temporarily park for up to 10 minutes in close proximity to the desired essential business in otherwise restricted parking areas.

Both initiatives will use signs to identify the temporary conditions and locations will be assessed carefully by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to develop the most appropriate solution. This initiative - which will expand to more than 100 locations across the city- begins with the immediate curb lane installations at 10 hotspots along busy retail main streets.

Road Closures

At this time, the Medical Officer of Health maintains that full road closures or multi-block lane closures are not appropriate as they may inadvertently encourage gatherings.   

Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones do not constitute a full road closure and are not intended to be space that encourages people to gather. Toronto Public Health will provide business operators with clear instructions that they are to provide staff and/or security personnel to maintain their line-up appropriately as well as encourage alternatives to sidewalk queues wherever possible. Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones will be patrolled periodically to ensure that they are not being used as public space to congregate.               

Parking Considerations

Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones will be clearly identified through signage affixed to existing sign poles and will generally be located in areas designated as commercial loading zones or with parking restrictions already in place. Existing regulations outside of these zones will still be enforced by the Toronto Police Service particularly when a parking offence has a significant negative impact on traffic flow in the immediate area. Each situation will be assessed to ensure there is a balance of priority curb lane uses.

To submit requests, or identify hotspots, please report by telephone to 311. Toronto Public Health inspectors and Transportation Services staff will work closely together to address complaints.
Read the full release here.

More information on Affected City Services & Facilities.

More updates from the City of Toronto.


Province of Ontario Updates

Provincial Government Unveils Guidelines to Reopen the Province

Today, the Ontario government released, A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy. Despite the introduction of this framework, there are no specific dates included in the planning document that speaks to a specific date for reopening. Factors to determining a reopening date include:

  • A consistent two-to-four-week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

A Framework for Reopening our Province, outlines a stage-by-stage approach whereby many sectors of the province will be able to apply appropriate public health measures to ensure a safe opening. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks. Stages include:

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

At each stage, protection for vulnerable populations must be in place, in addition to the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

Learn more about the provincial government’s Framework for Reopening the Province here.

More updates from the Province of Ontario.


Government of Canada Updates

Businesses can now apply for the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program. As many small businesses in Ward 13 are struggling, I encourage those employers who qualify to apply. Eligible companies will be able to receive up to $847 per employee per week, with money to start being distributed by May 7. Please visit the Federal Government’s CEWS website for more information.

Please note that if you are eligible to receive CEWS, you will not be able to receive the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) concurrently.

The Federal government has been collaborating on shared guidelines with provinces to inform the re-opening of their economies. There are many criteria that will be reviewed, including a province’s medical capacity and testing, specific guidelines for certain sectors and industries, ongoing tracking, and more. It is expected these guidelines will be released this week. Re-opening plans will be up to the provinces to decide how to proceed as each province is dealing with the impact of COVID-19 differently. Until then, please continue to #StayHome and practice proper safety measures to combat the potential spread of COVID-19.

The Federal government is also looking at further support it can provide to the most vulnerable seniors who are facing physical/ mental health or isolation challenges or who are dealing with extra costs because of COVID-19. It is expected that information will be provided in the coming days.

More updates from the Government of Canada.


COVID-19 Information and Resources

Now is the time 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. 

Phone lines for telehealth, TPH and 311 continue to experience very high volumes. Please help keep the phones lines open for people who are sick by visiting  the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 website for up-to-date information and resources: toronto.ca/covid-19 

Telehealth Ontario
Call if you develop symptoms!
Telephone: 1-866-797-000

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, or to report people
Telephone: 311 (The City is only accepting 311 requests through phone)

Phone: 416-392-7903
Constituency Office: 100 Queen St W A5, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N2