On Friday, the Province of Ontario announced that we will be moving into Step Three of their Re-Opening Plan, on Wednesday, July 21, 5 days ahead of their 21-day benchmark. Step Three focuses on the resumption of additional indoor activities, and includes outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions; indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people (including religious services, rites, or ceremonies); Indoor dining is permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and much more. Read a full breakdown of changes here.
It is important to note that face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three. Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings as well. Unfortunately, the Province has yet to release any guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated, so wearing your mask is still your best shot at protection. Anyone with questions about best practices should look to the Government of Canada’s website and there is a graphic later with examples.
I know we are excited to see further re-opening of our favourite activities and businesses which we are eager to support, but I would continue to urge everyone to be cautiously optimistic. Despite the Premier hoping for a return to normal by August, we must all remember that the Delta variant is still a great concern in Ontario.
The Province has no plan or threshold for a reversal should one be necessary. We cannot afford to lift restrictions only to have to close again with a more dangerous variant. I understand that we want to remain optimistic and forward-looking. I know this is important for our mental health and the life of our local businesses. I do not want another lockdown which is why we must move cautiously through these stages of re-opening. But something to consider is that there have been more deaths from COVID in people that have been fully vaccinated than deaths from SARS. As you start to go to your local restaurant, gym or theatre, please consider how you can make your trips safer. Please continue to practice physical distancing, and if you’re able, wear a mask.
To establish widespread immunity, experts advise we need at least 80%-90% of the population to be fully vaccinated. As of today, about 21% of Ontario adults remain unable or unwilling to get the vaccine. Many family practitioners are having challenging conversations on the front lines of public health.
This hesitancy is made harder after the recent comments made by the World Health Organization yesterday. While widely reported, these comments were taken out of context. These comments referred to individuals who were accessing third and fourth doses in countries with high availability. Mixing of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), as well as mixing AstraZeneca and an mRNA vaccine is safe, effective and enables more Ontarians to receive their second dose sooner. Please, if you are able, get vaccinated. This will be your best protection from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
As of today, the Province still has yet to announce any plan for school returning in the fall. As of mid-July and with only a couple of weeks of summer remaining, parents, families, and teachers need a strong plan for our children. As children under the age of 12 have no option to get vaccinated, we need to be prepared with tools and guidelines to keep them safe. Toronto Public Health continues to push for clear guidance for vaccinated families with young children. I know that this is important for our communities, and I advocate alongside my colleagues for the necessary guidelines.
History cannot repeat itself with our schools left without guidance, resources, tools, and equipment to ensure a safe learning environment for our children. I know families want to see a return to in-class learning, and Premier Ford and his government need to provide the information and guidelines for this to be done safely. We can not risk more lives lost, and more outbreaks due to Premier Ford’s negligence.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
What’s In Today’s EBlast?
- Toronto Centre Projects
- Free Ride Wednesdays with Bike Share Toronto
- Becoming Garden: A Sonic Sensory Event!
- Neighbourhood Community Officer Program (NCOP)
- Community Spotlight: Haven Toronto
Toronto Centre Projects
Toronto Centre Project proposal promotion
Toronto Centre Projects is designed to engage community members and crowdsource neighbourhood projects supported by the Councillor's office and your neighbours. Over the next year, my office will be launching consultations for several parks and dog off-leash area revitalizations, public realm improvements, and more.
Have ideas to make our communities more liveable, vibrant, and safe? Submit them at www.TorontoCentreProjects.ca.
Free Ride Wednesdays with Bike Share Toronto
I’m excited to share that Bike Share Toronto and their partner, CAA SCO, will be offering Bike Share Toronto riders free rides every Wednesday through the month of July. Riders can take out a bike for up to 30 minutes, return the bike to any station, and take out another bike for an additional free 30-minute ride for a 24 hour period.
MAKE USE OF FREE RIDE WEDNESDAYS:
- Download the PBSC app or visit the Bike Share Toronto website to find a station near you.
- Go to any of the 625 bike share stations between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on one of the four Wednesdays in July.
- Select “Buy a pass” on the kiosk touch screen and select “$0 One-Day”, then insert your credit card and follow the on-screen instructions. You can also obtain your pass on the PBSC app by selecting “Purchase Access Pass” on the app. There is a refundable $20 deposit per bike.
- After completing the transaction, type in the code you received into the keypad on the left side of the docking point of the bike of your choice. If using the PBSC app, you may also unlock a bike with the quick and easy QR code release feature.
- Explore Toronto for up to 30 minutes. Fees will apply if ride is over the allotted 30 minutes.
- Return your bike to any station.
- Take out another bike for a free 30-minute ride as many times as you like.
Bike Share staff will additionally be coordinating with ActiveTO in order to provide “Valet Stations” around popular ActiveTO routes. The stations are staffed with Community Ambassadors who have extra bikes and docking points to ensure hassle-free riding. Each station is socially distanced, and following health guidelines in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. I know I’m looking forward to sharing the road with many of you as we cycle, roll and stroll together!
Becoming Garden: A Sonic Sensory Event!
Becoming Garden promotional graphic
Jamii will be presenting an intimate sonic sensory experience with Becoming Garden! This park performance will take place July 15 to 17 (rain date July 18).
Becoming Garden honours Indigenous ways of knowing in an outdoor garden filled with songs, stories and joyful art-making. Guided by Indigenous teachings that elevate your senses, excite your imagination and invite you to re-story your relations.
This experience, woven by Ayelen Liberona features and is co-created by Anishinaabe Kwe Vivian Recollet, Carolynne Crawley, Joce TwoCrows, Natasha Myers, and a group of young girls from Jamii's 'Laini' mentorship program. This event will adhere to public health guidelines, and while it is free, it will be ticketed to ensure capacity.
When: July 15-17, 2021 (rain date July 18)
Where: Princess Street Park, 15 Scadding Avenue
Neighbourhood Community Officer Program (NCOP)
As you may know, I have been a longtime advocate for community-based policing including the expansion of the Neighbourhood Community Officers for years, especially in the Church Wellesley Village. I think it is important for Toronto Police officers to know and understand the neighbourhoods they work in and not to be parachuted in only when there is an emergency. After the successful introduction of Neighbourhood Community Officers into specific neighbourhoods in Ward 13, the program has recently been expanded and each neighbourhood group in Toronto Centre has been assigned a minimum of four Neighbourhood Officers that act as specialized support for their neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood Officers are specially trained and selected to develop long-term relationships with the members of the communities they serve. This means that they understand ongoing issues as well as personal relationships with individuals in the community. As part of their assignment as a Neighbourhood Officer, they will be stationed in each community for five years at a minimum.
For persistent problems, such as recurring trespass issues that Neighbourhood Officers should be aware of and can assist with, or if you have information about concerns in the community, please use the below email addresses to alert them. Please continue to file official reports. You can do so here.
Moss Park: [email protected]
Yonge Street Corridor: [email protected]
Church Wellesley Village: [email protected]
St James Town: [email protected]
Regent Park: [email protected]
Waterfront: [email protected]
Community Spotlight: Haven Toronto
Since 1933, Haven Toronto’s drop-in centre has worked to provide a safe and inclusive place for elder homeless, marginally housed and socially isolated men to obtain essential services, counselling, dignity and respect. Haven Toronto has remained open during the pandemic, and has worked hard to continue to serve their clients, including providing a safe space to obtain vaccinations.
Haven Toronto’s 2021 Mid-Year report has highlighted the immense pressures COVID-19 has had on service organizations, but also the resilience of these organizations to step up and meet demands. Highlights include:
- 128% increase in mental health supports since the start of the pandemic in March 2020;
- 47% increase in addictions supports since the start of the pandemic in March 2020; and
- 90% increase in meals served in 2021 over what had been a record year in 2020.
COVID-19: Vaccine Information
For updates about Toronto’s vaccination rollout and booking system, please visit my website.
Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic by phone through the provincial call centre, 1-888-999-6488.
Book an appointment at a City-operated vaccination clinic online at www.toronto.ca/covid-19. For online bookings, you will need:
- Information found on your Government of Ontario photo health card;
- Postal code; and
- Email address or phone number.
The provincial system will verify your eligibility to book an appointment for vaccination based on this information and will then guide you to the scheduling system.
Please do not call 311 or Toronto Public Health to book an appointment. The City 311 contact centre and Toronto Public Health staff do not have access to the booking system.
Vaccinated Against COVID-19? What Does It Mean For Me?
By getting vaccinated, you benefit from the protection you get against COVID-19 and the easing of restrictive measures in your community. You still need to follow local public health advice in public settings (e.g. workplaces, public transit). Their advice considers community risk levels.
A majority of people in Canada have now had their first shot and many will soon be fully vaccinated. Below is a handy chart created by Public Health Canada to inform your actions depending on your vaccination status. This advice is based on the current state and will be updated as vaccination rates continue to increase and cases decrease.
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to again restrengthen our public health measures, we will all continue to live in this new normal. Wearing a mask or a face covering is mandatory in all public indoor spaces and on the TTC. 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 public indoor setting, including stores, transit, offices; and where
- physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
In response to the challenges small businesses are and will continue facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto has developed a Toronto Main Street Recovery and Rebuild program composed of six projects.
Beginning Thursday, July 8, the City of Toronto is making walk-in vaccinations available at the Toronto Congress Centre COVID-19 vaccine clinic. From this Thursday to Sunday, approximately 2,000 vaccinations will be available each day for walk-in clients. Walk-in vaccinations are open to anyone age 18 or older to receive a first or second-dose mRNA vaccine.
The Province of Ontario announced Toronto can enter Step Three of the Province’s Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, July 16 at 12:01 a.m. The City of Toronto is prepared to advance to Step Three reopening.
The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. As Toronto prepares to enter Step Three of the Province of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen this Friday, all people are reminded to continue following public health advice, including practising physical distancing and wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Ontario government is investing $32.7 million in new annualized funding for targeted addictions services and supports, including treatment for opioid addictions. This funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s comprehensive plan to build a modern, connected and high-quality mental health and addictions system centred around the needs of individuals and their families.
The Ontario government is supporting Variety Village with $1 million in 2021-22 to help ensure they can continue to offer programs and services as the province navigates a safe reopening from COVID-19.
With key public health and health care indicators continuing to improve and the province-wide vaccination rate surpassing the targets outlined in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health the Ontario government is moving the province into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021.
Government of Canada Updates
Canada Announces New Contribution To Global Vaccination Efforts And Launch Of Matching Fund With UNICEF Canada
Vaccinating the world against COVID-19 is our best chance of ending this pandemic. The government and Canadians can make a difference together by helping to ensure that life-saving COVID-19 vaccines reach people in developing countries, humanitarian, and conflict situations.
All updates from the Government of Canada can be found at the link here.
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
Call if you develop symptoms!
Toronto Public Health Hotline
8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Call if you have questions about COVID-19.
Email: [email protected]
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)
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.
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-complaints. You can also call their non-emergency line at 416-808-2222.