It has now been over 80 days since Mayor John Tory declared COVID-19 a state of emergency on March 23, 2020. Because of everyone’s diligent work staying physically distanced, we are able to turn our attention more fully towards the recovery and reopening.
Today, Premier Ford announced that you are allowed to create social circles of up to 10 people, who can interact without physical distancing, including hugging. I know this will come as a relief for many people, but it is important to follow these steps to create a safe circle, and make sure everyone in your circle continues to frequently wash their hands and take everyday actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The government said that restricting close contact to family or a social circle helps keep the number of contacts low in the event a member of the circle becomes infected with COVID-19.
To further aid in our recovery, this week the City of Toronto announced a few different programs to help residents safely access outdoor spaces, including summer camps, aquatic recreation and patios as Toronto begins to reopen.
In addition to this weekend’s ActiveTO activations, the St. Lawrence Market outdoor market opens Saturday. The St. Lawrence Market has worked with the City’s CurbTO program to relocate the outdoor area onto Market Street between The Esplanade and Wilton Street to allow for physical distancing. Lineup areas for the indoor and outdoor farmers’ market will start on Market Street and both areas will operate every Saturday from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers are strongly encouraged to wear a non-medical mask or face covering while shopping at the market.
A key program is SwimTO, a quick-start program that will expedite the opening of the City’s beaches, outdoor pools, wading pools and splash pads. Right now, outdoor pools, wading pools and splash pads remain closed due to provincial orders and public health recommendations. Significant work is underway to expedite the opening of these facilities. The goal is to have the City’s 140 splash pads accessible within a week of being permitted to open. Outdoor pools and wading pools would follow thereafter.
The City of Toronto also announced it will begin offering summer camps across the city starting on July 13 as part of its CampTO initiative, following the Province of Ontario announcement that summer day camps can operate during the Province’s Stage 2 reopening.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, CampTO programs will meet health guidelines designed in consultation with Toronto Public Health and in alignment with provincial health guidelines for day camps. Guidelines include lower ratios and capacity, physical distancing, mandatory health screening and enhanced facility cleaning.
Programs will be available for viewing on Saturday, June 13 at toronto.ca/camps.
Registration for CampTO will take place beginning at 7 a.m. on:
- Wednesday, June 24 for Etobicoke/York and Scarborough districts; and
- Thursday, June 25 for Toronto/East York, West Toronto/York and North York districts.
The quickest and easiest way to register is online at efun.toronto.ca. Phone registration will also be available at 416-396-7378. As Civic Centres and community recreation facilities remain closed, in-person registration will not be available.
Staff are also advancing CaféTO which aims to provide more outdoor dining areas in the public right-of-way to help restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months. Local restaurant/bar owners that are registered for the program will receive a set of City guidelines for the installation of a temporary sidewalk café or curb lane café.
I am anticipating there will be more and more questions about what is allowed to open, and what precautions need to be made for customers and business operators alike as we move into phase two.
The push back we have seen from childcare centre operators, childcare workers and parents is a great example of the problems that can arise when the Provincial Government doesn’t provide critical funding or the proper time for consultation, preparation, and training needed for a reopening.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare has recently released an open letter, calling on the Provincial Government to immediately provide new provincial funding for the child care sector so we can reopen safely with the necessary support for educators, staff, programs and families. To learn more about their call to action, or to sign on in support, please see their full letter on their website.
For other questions about what is currently able to open during Stage 1, or what will be open or impacts to your business or employment when we enter Stage 2, call the Province of Ontario’s “Stop the Spread” Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
I hope everyone has a great weekend, please stay safe, and be kind to each other and yourselves.
Today’s Community Care shoutout goes to Good to Be Good Foundation whose mission is to help those whose needs are most vulnerable and create sustainable safer and kinder lives. They’re dedicated to consciously addressing this explicitly, with an intersectional and anti-oppressive anti-racist lens.
Women and girls, notably Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour (BIPOC) womxn, are at heightened risk of gender-based violence, economic instability and human rights violations. They experience their own system, community, government and domestic situation working against them, contributing to issues of abuse, trafficking, poverty and social inequalities. No matter where they may be in the world, the fact that the home is the most dangerous place for many women and girls to be is something we cannot—and will not—ignore and tolerate. The full right of women and girls to live free of violence and injustices leans on the protection of their human rights and on a commitment to work together to create a more generous, equitable and sustainable world. The right to lead a peaceful and dignified life belongs to all.
Our friends at Good to Be Good Foundation have established a “Women's Relief Fund” which serves visible minority womxn who are BIPOC and their families and dependents, who have or are experiencing poverty, economic inequities, gender-based violence and marginalization. Any donations made to the fund will continue going to shelters and services aiding women and girls. Learn more about how you can support!
Please continue to email my office at email@example.com 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!
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed. If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, stay home and self-isolate.
As we slowly return to some sense of normalcy, we need to continue physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play. The actions you take will help protect you and everyone in our community.
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 elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
- using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
- sick and going for 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 mask.
The City of Toronto is the fastest growing city and the Toronto census metropolitan area is the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of Canada and U.S. in terms of population growth, according to the latest research from the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development at Ryerson University.
Federal and Provincial Governments Partner to Expand City of Toronto’s Digital Main Street Program Across Ontario
Yesterday, the Federal and Provincial governments announced a $57 million investment to help small businesses across Ontario go digital by building on Toronto’s investments into Digital Main Street and, most recently, ShopHERE.
This announcement represents an investment of $50 million from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $7.6 million from the Province of Ontario.
With the supply of many drugs and medications having stabilized in the province, the Ontario government is lifting the recommended 30-day supply limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications. Effective June 15, 2020, program recipients can return to filling up to 100-day supply at a time from their pharmacy or dispensing physician, when appropriate.
Ontario to Resume Family Visits in Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, and Other Residential Care Settings
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings.
Family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning June 18, 2020. Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits. This approach will ensure the health and safety of residents, staff and visitors.
The Government of Ontario is taking additional steps to better protect workers in the agri-food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is significantly expanding the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committing up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.
Government of Canada Updates
Government of Canada Announces Additional Support for Indigenous Businesses and the Indigenous Tourism Industry
The Government of Canada is taking action to further support Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous tourism industry in response to hardships created by COVID-19. Many of the 30,000 Indigenous businesses in Canada are small to medium-sized enterprises and operate in sectors particularly hard-hit by COVID-19. The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced additional funding totaling $133 million in new funding to support Indigenous business through the pandemic and into recovery. Of these additional funds, $117 million will reach more community-owned First Nation, Inuit and Métis businesses, including microbusinesses, who are not eligible for existing business support measures.
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.
Outside City limits: 416-392-2489
Call if you have questions about City services, or to report people
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. 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.