As we see more rising cases of COVID-19 in our city, and across the globe, I know how concerned many residents feel and I echo that. The City of Toronto has been working non-stop in planning a response to COVID-19. We are continuing to base our actions on the best experts and evidence, and will continue working closely with all levels of government to keep our community safe and healthy.
I know staying on top of all the changes is challenging. Going forward, you can expect a daily overview of some of the big breaking news items that will impact your day-to-day. As always, I strongly encourage you to visit toronto.ca and toronto.ca/covid19 for timely and up-to-date information.
Many people have asked what they can do to help in this time. To all of you I will say the most important step you can take is to socially distance yourself. This means:
- keeping 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others at all times
- avoiding mass gatherings
- avoiding crowds
Every opportunity to avoid interactions with others through social distancing helps to prevent the spread of this disease. Every interaction avoided helps to save lives.
When those of us who can take the steps to socially distance, we help protect those among us who can’t. That includes frontline workers in healthcare and emergency services, those who are precariously housed and employed.
To ease this time for all residents, I continue to advocate for freezes on mortgages, rent, credit cards and lines of credit while residents are unable to work.
Thank you to everyone doing the important work of caring for each other. That includes (safely!!) checking in on vulnerable friends, family or neighbours, especially seniors and/or those with special needs, to ensure they are ok and have essentials that they need while practicing social distancing.
As always, my staff and I are working tirelessly to ensure you have accurate information.
Updates from the City of Toronto:
The City’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is now operational 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Today Mayor John Tory announced that effective immediately, until April 5, the City of Toronto will be scaling back and/or modifying the delivery of all non-essential services. Essential and/or critical services that will remain operational are those that:
- are required to meet legislative requirements
- support employee and public health, safety and security
- enable critical community services and supports, including COVID-19 mitigation and recovery
- support services necessary to keep essential services operating
- protect and operate vital infrastructure
- fulfill contractual, legal and financial obligations.
The full list of impacts and closures is on toronto.ca/covid-19 and is being updated with additional information throughout the day.
This morning, the province has declared a state of Emergency, which effectively means the province has asked for the immediate closure of all indoor recreational programs, all public libraries, all private schools, all licensed child care centres, all bars and restaurants (except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery), all theatres and cinemas and all concert venues. All organized events with more than 50 people are also prohibited, including parades, events and services within places of worship
This is after the Province announced that they will be postponing any current evictions, and suspending new eviction notices until further notice which is a step towards assuring some security for those precariously housed during this time. Much more is needed for those experiencing much financial loss including contract workers, gig economy workers and small business owners.
Yesterday the federal government announced that oreign nationals from all countries - except the United States – will no longer be allowed to enter Canada. This does not include air crews, travellers heading to a third country, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, or permanent residents.
They are also strengthening screening measures at airports, including stronger and more visible messaging, health screening at kiosks, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high-traffic areas and facilities at airports.
The advice for all Canadians is to get home ASAP. The Government has created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. The Program will provide the option of an emergency loan to Canadians in need of immediate financial assistance to help them return home or to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.