Today, Mayor John Tory declared a State of Emergency for our city. By declaring an emergency in Toronto, the Mayor can take quicker action, without City Council votes, as advised by Chief Pegg and Dr. deVilla to further public health outcomes in keeping people safe and preventing the further spread of COVID-19.
The call for a municipal state of emergency came a few hours after the Province of Ontario made the hard decision and ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces. This is an important step in helping slow the spread of COVID-19. I know many people will have questions about who this affects, and a full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow. We will share this information with you as soon as the Province has released this information.
We need to act now to save lives, so I want to stress how critical it is that we all collectively rise to this challenge and stay home and practice physical social distancing. Everyone who is able to, for the health of our friends, family and neighbours, needs to make the hard sacrifices to voluntarily self-isolate. We should all behave as if we are carriers of COVID-19. While the directions are simple, that doesn't mean they are easy. That means:
- If you have symptoms of illness, do not leave your home until you have spoken with a medical professional and been given the all clear.
- If you have just returned from travel, do not leave your home for 14 days, and only then if you are still asymptomatic.
- And even if you are not sick and have not travelled, unless you work in an essential industry, stay at home.
I know that this sudden and complete shutdown of our non-essential businesses, in-person social connections and our routines is having, and will continue to have, a serious impact on people’s mental health. We don’t know how long we are going to have to sustain this kind of distancing, and that is also causing a lot of people stress and anxiety. It is important that we continue to practice self and community care, and that we find new ways to connect with each, and support each other.
Community Care in Ward 13
Today’s community care shoutout goes to our friends at Seeds of Hope. Seeds of Hope operates out of 6 St. Joseph Street and continues to provide services to those experiencing homelessness. Their approach prioritizes dignity and a sense of belonging. This model of taking positive steps towards rebuilding the lives of individuals taps the “genius of local communities”, and builds on the contributions of the people who volunteer at 6 St Joseph House.
Currently, they continue to provide food, in takeaway boxes, for those experiencing homelessness and working tirelessly to maintain a clean and safe environment to our most vulnerable residents. Thank you for all that you do!
Learn more about Seeds of Hope.
City of Toronto COVID-19 Updates
Today, Mayor John Tory declared a State of Emergency in the city of Toronto after receiving advice this morning from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and the Office of Emergency Management.
The declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the City's ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and will ensure the municipal government can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.
While the declaration doesn’t change the Level 3 status of the City’s Emergency Operations Centre, it does provide City staff with the necessary flexibility to access resources in a more timely way so it can continue to keep the city functioning and safe.
As you know, this situation continues to change rapidly, but we are committed to keeping you updated as we learn more.
Province of Ontario Updates
The Province announced a mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open will be released tomorrow.
Premier Doug Ford also announced that the province is committing $200 million in relief for municipalities to administer social services such as shelters, food banks, Emergency Services, Charities and nonprofits.
This includes funding for a COVID-19 Emergency Assistance fund. This fund is designed for people and families who require financial supports but are unable to access federal support programs. Applications are open now.
The Province of Ontario has also launched an enhanced and interactive self-assessment tool to inform those of you who are concerned you may have contracted COVID-19, and help you determine how to seek further care. Please use this assessment before calling Toronto Public Health of Telehealth Ontario to keep the phone lines open.
Government of Canada Updates
In a press conference today, Prime Minister Trudeau said that he will be speaking with premiers tonight to coordinate efforts across the country. The topics for discussion will include the economy, getting money to Canadians and how to enforce self-isolating. He also announced:
- Details around funding for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures is part of the Government of Canada’s more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund.
- Support for farmers and agri-food businesses under Canada’s response to COVID-19
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.
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.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.