This afternoon, echoing provincial recommendations, city's medical officer of health Dr. Eileen De Villa is calling on all Toronto bars, dine-in restaurants, nightclubs and theatres to close starting just after midnight on March 17. If Toronto businesses fail to comply with De Villa's closure recommendation, she will issue orders to individual establishments under Section 22 of the Health Protection & Promotion Act. You can see her whole statement here.
We know that financially it is not easy for businesses to close, even when the public good is so clear. In addition to their own livelihoods, many business owners are concerned about the financial impact this will have on their employees if they can't afford to keep paying them. The province did not guarantee pay for employees who are impacted by closures, so we know this recommendation could be very hard on many families. It is why I have been calling for much greater financial and social support for all residents and businesses to help stop the spread, and help incentive businesses to close - please see our full statement at https://www.kristynwongtam.ca/statement_socialsupports_covid19
At the city, we are trying to help ease the burden for business owners and employees so they can make the responsible decision to close on their own. Today, Mayor John Tory announced an Economic Support Task force that responds to some of our calls. the focus of the Task Force will be on quickly determining what current supports and stimulus work needs to be done. The City will be working with industry partners to identify actions to support businesses, workers, and residents in responding to the economic impact. You can learn more about the options available at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/economic-support-recovery/
For the latest information on health advice, travel advisories, city service disruptions, I encourage everyone to visit www.toronto.ca/coronavirus regularly.
Thank you to everyone for doing your part to help flatten the curve and reduce exposure to infection. We are in this, and stronger together.
1Update on COVID-19 Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of HealthMarch 16, 2020at 3:45p.m. Members' Lounge, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St. W.Good afternoon and welcome everyone. I'm here to provide you with an update on COVID-19plans and my new recommendationsWe have recently seen a significant increase in cases of COVID-19, some of which are unlinked, and thus indicate community transmission. We continue to pursue rigorous investigations of these cases and their contacts. --Last week I made a number of recommendations on public health measures to protect our city. --At this time I am urging you to take further action. I recognize that these recommendations will result in significant adjustments to our daily lives, and they will present challenges.Please know that I do not make these recommendations lightly. On the contrary, they are being made after careful and measured consideration. Today I recommend:--Bars and restaurants to stop in-person service and move exclusively to take-out and delivery service as soon as possible and no later than midnight tonight.--In order to limit virus spread, I am also strongly recommending allnightclubs, movie theatres, and concert venues close as soon as possible. --Businesses who choose to defy my recommendations maybe subject to orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Also, I am recommending:--If you can stay home, do.--If you are a business oremployer, help your staff to stay home. --Limit group gatherings. --If you need to seek medical attention, call ahead. --If you are a healthcare worker and are sick, stay home. --If you have travelled, stay home for 14 days from the day you arrived home.
2--If neighbours or family members needsupplies, then help them, but practice social distancing. --If you need to take public transit to access health or necessary goods orservices, practice social distancing.I am calling on our city to rise to this challenge to reduce the spread of this virus. We know that these measures I'm recommending today work, based on the experience of other jurisdictions. I am asking for everyone in our city to take these recommendations seriously and make every possible effort to practice social distancing.I cannot over emphasize how important this is, particularly at this critical time. Again, this is not a decision I make lightly –our hospitality industry contributes significantly to the lifeof our city... we are taking thisaction today to protect the healthof our city. I have been askedwhy I do not issue blanket closures today. It is the job of public health to balance measures meant to control the spread of COVID-19with the economic consequences of those measures, with the overall goal of protecting the health of our city. I know our Mayor and City Manager have this front of mind and have convened the Mayor's Economic Support and Recovery Task Force.We in public health, along with our residents,all have a role to play in doing our part to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Thisis why I need each and every one of you to do your part for the well-being of our city. Everyopportunity to avoid interactions with others helps to prevent the spread of this disease. Everyinteraction avoided helps to flatten the curve. If you can, stay home, help out our city by reducing your interaction with others. Everylittle bit, every effortcounts. In closing, I would like to sincerely thank my City colleagues and the entire Toronto Public Service, in particular my team at Toronto Public Health. Your
3city is still working. Many people are working around the clock. Welove this city too. I'd also like to thank the media and the people of Toronto for your willingness to help out, whether it's by sharing accurate information, or by staying home. These decisions are not easy. We will get through this, we do need your help. I would now bepleased to answer your questions. -30-Media contact: Lenore Bromley, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974,Lenore.Bromley@toronto.ca