COVID-19 Update, April 2

The warnings we are hearing from all orders of government are stark. I continue to reiterate how critical it is that you follow public health directives and stay home, especially if you are ill or have recently traveled.

Today, Mayor Tory signed a new bylaw under his extended powers during this state of emergency that imposes a mandatory two-metre distance rule between two people in all parks and public squares. If the individuals don't live in the same household and found to be violating this new bylaw, they will be issued a set fine ticket in the amount of $750, which can go up to $5,000 subject to prosecution and conviction. This severe measure, effective immediately for a period up to 30 days, is deemed necessary to keep people safe and further prevent the deadly spread of this coronavirus.

To arrest COVID-19 even more quickly, and to save lives, protect the healthcare system and ensure the economy and society can rebound more quickly, the following measures, at a minimum, are in effect for the next 12 weeks:

  • All individuals with COVID-19 are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health to stay home, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for 14 days
  • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are also ordered to stay home by the Medical Officer of Health for 14 days
  • Anyone who is not ill or has not traveled, is strongly directed to stay home except for the following reasons:
    • accessing healthcare or medication
    • shop for groceries once per week
    • walk their dogs
    • get daily exercise while maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres
  • People returning from international travel must stay home, already a federal order
  • Anyone over the age of 70, as the province announced this week, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible
  • Increased supports for self-isolation for those experiencing homelessness
  • Only essential businesses remain open, and those businesses maximize physical distancing and infection prevention and control practices, and limit in-person access to those businesses, as much as possible
  • Increased cleaning and active screening of employees at all businesses.

It is also critical to remember that for many of our tirelessly working essential and front-line workers, public transportation remains a necessity to get to and from work every day.  I have seen the photos shared by transit riders of packed buses, this is unacceptable and puts the lives of many at risk.

To help support these essential workers, I ask anyone taking non essential trips to think even more carefully about maintaining your distance. If you can, walk, drive or cycle to your destination. If you must take public transit, wait for a bus that isn’t crowded. Think about timing your trips or  delaying your morning commutes and trips until after 8 a.m., in hopes of limiting the morning rush.

Earlier this week, in response to growing concerns from riders about overcrowding on high volume bus routes, the TTC announced that is is providing a minimum of 47 extra buses during the morning and evening rush hour commute. These are current routes that will be receiving extra buses, this list may be subject to change.

Wheel-Trans Updates

For our community members who use wheel-trans, I ask that you also limit your bookings for essential trips only. I recognize that practicing safe physical distancing is a lot harder in wheel-trans vehicles as there is less space than the TTC buses. 

To respond to this concern, staff are working to monitor and adjust the number of customers on each trip as per the recommendations of public health officials. Say your usual ride has 4-5 customers, this may decrease to 2-3 to ensure there is a safe distance between riders.

Fare Inspections

I have also heard from concerned residents, asking what the current role of fare inspectors is during the COVID-19 crisis. We know that people across the city are dealing with a number of stressors, from their monthly rent to purchasing groceries, you shouldn’t have to worry about a fare evasion penalty on top of that. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, TTC have stated that Fare Inspectors will not be conducting fare inspections or traveling on TTC vehicles. While you may still see inspectors at various subways across the city, their primary role is to provide customer service support.  

A reminder to all riders that the TTC buses and streetcars are not accepting cash or token payments and now loading through the back doors, which are unfortunately not accessible for those unable to navigate the step up. Riders are being asked to use presto, or pay when they arrive at a station. No one should be denied boarding. 

For all TTC service updates, including enhanced cleaning protocols please visit the TTC website. 

This is a challenging time for everyone. It is my hope that these changes, although an inconvenience, by the TTC work but necessary to improve the safety and well-being for both riders and operators.

Thank you for your resilience, and your personal sacrifices during this historically difficult period. We will get though this together and as always it remains an honour to represent you.

Kristyn


Community Care in Ward 13

Today’s community care shoutout goes to my friend, Zahra Ebrahim, who has collaboratively designed with others an app to connect Torontonians. It helps people get the assistance they need, and even have some fun in the spirit of community.  The app includes a self-assessment tool that can quickly help you find your local health care options.

Covid-19 app

In the spirit of co-creation, you can even add resources!

Norm DiPasquale

Also while schools are temporarily closed and the kids are at home, this doesn’t mean learning stops. My friend, Norm Di Pasquale, TCDSB Trustee for Ward 9 has compiled a fantastic list of free e-learning student resources that the kids can use while at home. Please visit Trustee Norm’s website for more info.

Please 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 Practicing Social Distancing!

As the City of Toronto evokes these new measures for public health, please remember to keep practicing 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 feet (2 metres) away from others on the streets. These measures are crucial to protect the greater public health.

Social Distance

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

Today Mayor Tory announced that any two people who don't live together, who fail to keep the two metres of distance between them in a park or public square, will be subject to prosecution and a fine of up to $5,000. This emergency action is in effect for at least the next 30 days and is meant to enforce physical distancing to avoid spreading COVID-19 in our city and to save lives.

A COVID-19 Enforcement Team of 200 Municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officers, 10 Toronto Public Health Bylaw Officers, plus the resources of the Toronto Police Service will enforce the new physical distancing bylaw, provincial orders banning organized social gatherings of more than five people, bans on using closed playgrounds and other parks amenities, and the closure orders on non-essential businesses that remain open.

Read the full news release.

Yesterday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued new directives under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. These unprecedented measures are meant to halt the spread of COVID-19. I know many of you are following these directives closely. I know it’s challenging and through the coming weeks will be very difficult. Thank you for your ongoing effort. 

These new measures include:

  • All individuals with COVID-19 are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health to stay home, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for 14 days.
  • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are also ordered to stay home by the Medical Officer of Health for 14 days.

  • People returning from international travel must stay home (already a federal order).

  • Anyone who is not ill or has not travelled, is strongly directed to stay home except for the following reasons:

    • accessing healthcare or medication

    • shopping for groceries once per week

    • walking their dogs

    • getting daily exercise while maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres

  • Anyone over the age of 70, as the Province already announced, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

Remember that while we may be apart, we are not alone. By following these protocols, we can, as a community, do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

More information on Affected City Services & Facilities.

More updates from the City of Toronto.


Province of Ontario Updates  

Supporting Victim Services in Response to COVID-19

In response to growing concerns from members of the gender-based violence sector, the Attorney General, Doug Downey, announced today the emergency action to support victims of crime and protect front-line staff. The government is providing an emergency payment of $2.7 million to support services for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes during COVID-19. Funds are designed to assist front-line staff with responding to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and enhance access to immediate supports. This includes: extended hotels stay, transportation, and meal vouchers available through the Victim Quick Response Program.

Please click here to learn more about the additional support for victims and front-line staff.

Supporting the Trucking Sector

Truck drivers across the province have been working tirelessly, making sure goods such as food and equipment are delivered in a timely manner. Truck drivers have been sharing photos and information about the treatment they have faced while travelling across cities. In response, the provincial government is calling on all business owners to support truck drivers when they are stopping to rest, get gas, or use washrooms.

In addition, the government will be increasing safe places for truck drivers to stop and rest across the province. They will be keeping all 23 ONroute travel plazas open for take-out and washrooms. The province’s full announcement can be found here.

More updates from the Province of Ontario.


Government of Canada Updates 

A senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ released an analysis today that claims that a full one third of unemployed workers will fall through the cracks and receive no income support unless changes are made quickly to ensure no one is left behind. We will continue to push the federal government to provide income support to everyone. Read more about that claim.

The Federal Government is hosting an all ministers meeting tonight. Topics include working with the provinces to discuss personal protective equipment (PPE) and to share data and modelling with experts and the public. New PPE is arriving in Ontario. Indigenous Services Canada is providing support and supplies to indigenous communities, including PPE and $305 million in financial aid. 

It is also being stressed that COVID-19 is impacting all ages, and to encourage physical distancing, they are asking Canadians to share the #StayHome hashtag on social media.

Latest 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: 1-866-797-0000

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.
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