Social Bubbles, Taking Care, and COVID-19 Updates

As we near the end of August, and with the end of summer in sight, I am reflecting on how critical our commitment to doing absolutely everything possible to keep reducing the spread of the virus will be.

I know how difficult the first few months of the pandemic were on many people, as strict physical distancing protocols left us socially isolated, and often alone. While the warm weather and loosening of restrictions is still here, hopefully you have been able to see friends and hug family members that you weren’t able to early in the pandemic. I know how critical these social ties are for our collective mental health and well being. 

I also hear there is confusion on what safe socializing looks like and whether we still need to take precautions when connecting with our friends and families in person. The reality is that there are many months of this pandemic still ahead of us. As we have learned to live with this virus, our goal in Toronto continues to be clear: we all need to do our very best to minimize the onset of new cases. 

As we look at cities in western Canada, in the US and around the world, we are reminded every day that this pandemic is not over. In British Columbia and Alberta there are increases in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations linked to social gatherings. As people start to move around and travel again, places that had low case counts earlier this year are experiencing their biggest daily case counts since April. This is very concerning. 

To help keep each other safe, I'd like to remind everyone of a few key points about social bubbles.

First of all – if you belong in a social bubble, it's 10 people or less. You can hang out with this group without masks indoors and outdoors, and you can hug people within your bubble. You must have an agreement with everyone in this bubble to keep a distance from others outside the bubble to keep everyone safe.  There are lessons we can learn from consent and safer sex communication on how to have these conversations with our friends and families. This article from NPR could offer some pointers.

It is critical to remember that you can only belong to one bubble. This means that if you are socializing with friends and family outside of your bubble, you must keep a distance of 6 feet from them.  Socializing safely with others outside of your bubble includes meeting in a park or getting together in someone’s backyard, at a distance. And for those brief moments where you can't maintain a safe distance, please wear a mask or other face covering.  

Limiting to one bubble is a critical component of Toronto Public Health’s case and contact management strategy. When making decisions about who to see, think about how many people you would have to contact if someone in your circle did contract COVID-19. Your social bubble keeps those numbers manageable. 

I realize that socializing during a pandemic is difficult and maybe even awkward for some. We're used to hugging our friends when we greet them and sitting close to each other around a table to share a meal or a drink together. However, we're still learning to live with a highly contagious virus that is deadly for some, and that has profound lifelong impacts for others. 

The epidemiologists have warned us that we will have more COVID-19 activity in our city. The only way we will minimize our risk, is if we all keep doing our part. So please be careful and keep protecting each other. 

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

Kristyn

 


Community Corner

You’re invited to an Online/Telephone Information Session on program changes to the Bond Place Hotel on September 10, 2020 from 6:00PM -8:00PM. 

As part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing in the shelter system, the Bond Place hotel has been leased by the City of Toronto to serve as a temporary municipal shelter and will be operated by Dixon Hall

The Shelter began operating on August 21, 2020. Ideally, this consultation would have happened before the opening date, however it was necessary to open the shelter immediately to accommodate residents who needed to be moved from other shelters whose contracts ended before September 1, 2020. The rapid nature of the homelessness response means that consultation looks different, but the City of Toronto is committed to listening to feedback and providing information as soon as possible. 

  • Address: 65 Dundas St.E.
  • Service Operator: Dixon Hall 
  • Opening Date: August 21, 2020 
  • Client Group: All gender

How to join: The link to the online session and the call-in number will be available at the following website one week before the session is set to begin: www.toronto.ca/PhysicalDistancingShelters

Let us know your questions! We encourage residents to send in questions in advance of the Information Session to the Community Engagement Facilitator below.

Not able to attend the online/telephone event? Share your feedback and learn more using the resources below:

  • Dixon Hall community line for general inquiries: (416) 668-3716
  • Bond Place Site Lead for immediate site concerns (24/7): (416) 688-5014
  • Email: bondplacehotel@dixonhall.org

To learn more please visit www.toronto.ca/PhysicalDistancingShelters

Questions about the engagement process? Get in touch with the Community Engagement Facilitator, Joe Mihevc clc.bondplace@gmail.com


Community Care

Recreation Job Fair – Regent Park Community Centre

Over the course of the last few months, City staff have been hard at work to restore programs and activities at the city. This coming Sunday August 30th at 1:00-4:00 p.m., City of Toronto Recreation staff will be hosting a Recreation Job Fair at the Regent Park Community Centre (402 Shuter Street).

Staff will be on site to provide workshops and information on the various available positions. Positions vary from jobs working with children, youth, adults, and older adults. Work areas include: aquatics, arts and culture, camps, preschool, community programs, etc.

In line with public health guidelines, attendees will be required to wear face masks/face coverings, maintain physical distances, and complete a health screening prior to entering. Prospective applicants are encouraged to reserve their spots by calling 416-392-2743 or emailing pfrbuildingskills@toronto.ca. Spaces are limited.

For more information, please see the poster below.


COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread

As we begin to ease our public health measures, we will all be living a new normal. Our commitment must be to continue minimizing the impact of COVID-19, especially on our most vulnerable residents, while reducing negative social, economic and broader health impacts on our community. In the coming months what this means for our residents is:

  • Continuing to work remotely, wherever possible;
  • Maintaining physical distance from people outside our household or social circle/bubble;
  • Avoiding crowds and congregations in closed indoor settings;
  • Wearing a cloth mask or face covering in any indoor, enclosed public spaces or where physical distancing is difficult to maintain; and 
  • Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason. 

When you are unable to keep a six feet/two-metre distance from others, wear a mask or face covering. This includes when you are:

  • In any indoor, enclosed public space;
  • In elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
  • Using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
  • Sick and going to a medical appointment.

Be respectful of others who choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make it hard to breathe when wearing a face covering.

wear_a_mask_(1).jpeg

How to Create a Safe Social Circles

As we continue our shared fight against COVID-19, you can now establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. Social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. Think of your social circle as the people you can hug and touch, or those who can become part of your daily and weekly routines.

social_circles_small.pngThank 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 the City’s website or download this info sheet.

 


City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates 

City of Toronto Extends Outdoor Sport Field Season Due to COVID-19

Today, the City of Toronto announced the extension of the outdoor sport field season. The City’s outdoor sport and multi-use fields will remain open until Sunday, October 25 and permits will be issued for the remainder of the 2020 season.

More information on affected City services & facilities.

More updates from the City of Toronto.


Province of Ontario Updates

Ontario Releases COVID-19 Management Plan for Schools

As part of Ontario's plan for students to safely return to the classroom in September, the government has released the Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools document. 

Ontario Strengthens Supports for Human Trafficking Victims and Survivors

The Ontario government announced frontline victims services organizations will receive $7.65 million over five years in funding for specialized services to support human trafficking victims and survivors as part of the government's comprehensive anti-human trafficking strategy. A portion of this funding will be directed to Victim Services Toronto, Victim Services of York Region, and the province's other Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario organizations.

More updates from the Province of Ontario.


Government of Canada Updates

Prime Minister Announces $2B Support for a Safe Return to School

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced up to $2 billion in support for provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund. This will provide the complementary funding they need, as they work alongside local school boards to ensure the safety of students and staff members throughout the school year.

Government of Canada Matches $8 million in Donations Made by Canadians to Respond to Beirut Explosion

Meeting with Lebanese, Canadian and international humanitarian partners today in Beirut, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that the Government of Canada will match, dollar for dollar, the full $8 million in donations made through the Lebanese Matching Fund as a result of the generosity of Canadians. These funds help meet essential food, water, health and other critical humanitarian needs.

Minister Ng Announces More Support for Women Entrepreneurs in Southern Ontario

Women today still face unique and systemic barriers to starting and growing a business – and these challenges have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is investing in women entrepreneurs to help them overcome these challenges and position them for a stable, successful future.

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: 1-866-797-0000

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, or to report people
Telephone: 311
Email: 311@toronto.ca

Support for People Living with Homelessness
If you see someone living with homelessness and in need of support you can call Streets to Homes at 416-338-4766. For mental health support, the Gerstein Crisis Centre is a valuable 24-hours a day, seven days a week service in our community and they have crisis workers on standby at 416-929-5200. More resources, including additional how to report information, are available on my website at kristynwongtam.ca.

Toronto Police
If you or someone else is confronted with life-threatening danger, please call 911 immediately. Alternatively, the Toronto Police request that online reports be submitted at torontopolice.on.ca/core or to  torontopolice.on.ca/community-complaintsYou can also call their non-emergency line at 416-808-2222. In the past, by diligently reporting criminal activity, residents were able to see our community policing and other service levels increase. You can do your part: see it, report it.

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