Yesterday, the City of Toronto recorded 381 new cases of COVID-19. Today, we recorded an additional 251 new cases. These are numbers we have not seen since May. In fact, over the weekend, Ontario reported the highest single-day increase we have ever had, a record 700 new cases of COVID-19.
I want you to take these numbers seriously. While we have not yet seen a corresponding jump in the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations, we know from past experience that those numbers lag increased case counts. Yesterday, the Ontario Hospital Association called on the Provincial government to return the Province to Stage 2 restrictions - citing that they are ”gravely concerned that the current rate of spread will mean that hospitals will be unable to fulfill these roles while delivering life-saving care.”
Yesterday, Doug Ford acknowledged that “we know that we are in the second wave and we know that it will be worse than the first wave.” For that reason, some additional restrictions have been placed on bars and restaurants. As of September 26, restaurants and bars in Ontario must stop serving alcohol after 11 pm and in-person dining must stop as of midnight. In addition, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. de Villa will be making recommendations to the City Council at our meeting tomorrow to add further restrictions. These recommendations will include:
- Reducing the total number of patrons in any one bar or restaurant venue from 100 to 75;
- Requiring these venues to collect contact information for each patron at a table;
- Reducing the number of people at a table from 10 to 6;
- Requiring that background noise like music is no louder than normal conversation; and
- Extending existing by-laws created to govern the City during the pandemic until Council’s first meeting in 2021.
We all want to avoid the strict isolation and restrictions of last spring. The prolonged isolation was very difficult on people’s mental wellbeing. I know that our public health officials are working hard to strike a balance between the need to limit the spread of COVID-19 with the desire to allow opportunities for critically important social contact. There continues to be a concern that if bars and restaurants are shut down, the unsafe activity will continue - but it will happen in private homes, without any of the public health precautions that have been implemented.
If a decision is made to return the Province of Ontario and Toronto to stage two, we must ensure that the business owners and employees are provided adequate financial support. A shut down must be accompanied by real commercial rent and utility support or forgiveness. The deadline to submit a new application to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECREA) is September 30 (tomorrow). I know this program hasn’t been perfect, but if you are a small business owner concerned about your ability to pay your rent over the next few months, please apply by visiting this website.
We must remember that the first wave of the virus disproportionately impacted racialized people, the elderly, and those living in poverty. These are populations that do not have the same protections as others when it comes to being able to work from home or avoid congregate spaces. If you do have that privilege, I ask you to strongly consider what actions you can take to help protect others. Think back to your behaviour and the precautions you were taking in May. It is with that same caution that you should be assessing your daily interactions.
Strict adherence to public health measures is our best defence against COVID-19. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. If you haven’t yet, download the COVID-19 contact tracing app.
As the number of cases increases in the City, it is more important than ever to make sure that you are following the best public health advice and getting your information from credible news sources.
Thank you for your resilience, it is an honour to represent you.
I am excited to announce that construction to replace the west retaining wall and outdated chain link fence of the Church Street Public School with a beautiful interactive public art installation has begun. This is the final phase of the school’s entire fence replacement project. The early phase of work already completed included replacing the unsightly fencing surrounding the whole school with a beautiful and modern black metal fence.
The planning for this nearly $2 million public art investment in the Church-Wellesley Village began in 2017 and is funded by the City of Toronto and built in partnership with the Toronto District School Board. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the community consultation and working group meetings including local residents, businesses, and Church Street Public School students, staff, and parents.
I’d like to thank Trustee Chris Moise as well as both City and TDSB staff for all of their hard work and perseverance throughout the past few years. I’d also like to thank and recognize the design consultants and community members who contributed to the vision and design of this public art. When the construction is complete I hope we can come out together for a safely-distanced community celebration!
Image description: An artist rendering of the new fence and interactive public art installation on Church Street. Image shows the fence in daylight and in the evening. The fence is painted in fading blue and pink.
ROAD CLOSURE NOTICE
Tonight, between 8:00 pm and 12:00 midnight, all lanes on Church Street will be temporarily closed from Wood Street to Alexander Street to facilitate the initiation of the fence and retaining wall replacement project. This will be followed by the north-bound lane being closed for the duration of the construction which is anticipated to take about 8 weeks.
You Might Be Interested In...
Image description: Promotional graphic with information about the Dare to Run event. The event information is provided below.
Our friends from Simon Fraser University and Women Transforming Cities are hosting a series called Women Diversifying Cities- Dare to Run.
On October 5, 2020, I will join Mayor Toni Boot (Summerland, BC), Nadine Nakagawa (New Westminster, BC) and moderator Rhiannon Bennett, as we discuss the challenges and opportunities presented as women of colour and Indigenous women running for and working in elected positions at the municipal level.
When: October 5, 2020 at 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT
TDSB Update from Trustee Chris Moise
Image description: Title "Trustee Update" followed by contact information for Trustee Chris Moise: Ward 10 University-Rosedale and Toronto Centre, Toronto District School Board, contact number 416-395-8787. Email [email protected]
The first few weeks of school have been hectic, stressful, and frustrating for parents/guardians, students, and staff at the TDSB. As you may know, over the summer staff and trustees worked hard to come up with solid plans that ensured a safe and organized return to school. Doug Ford and his Provincial Government have caused these delays and shortfalls. I share your frustration and will continue to advocate for every family across our ward.
Some families still haven't even had an opportunity to start school yet due to teacher shortages caused by an increase in the number of families who have opted for virtual school instead of in-class out of fear for their health and wellbeing. Over 77,000 students have registered for virtual school, an increase of over 15,000 students (the count at the beginning of September, board-wide, was just over 60,000).
Despite these challenges, we continue to work hard to have all students engaged and learning. As our Interim Director, Carlene Jackson, tweeted this week: Please remember that the pandemic is weighing heavily on many people in different ways, so we must remember to display compassion, patience and kindness to one another as we are all in this together and have the same goal – to keep students, staff and our TDSB community safe.
Image description: City of Toronto Public Health infographic listing ways to support your child during school. Below this title are five bubbles with drawings of adults helping children. Below the bubbles are the following tips: 1. Keep it simple. Explain ways we can all stay safe. 2. Listen. Help them expressed their feelings and label their emotions. 3. Use age-appropriate terms. Provide answers in a way they can understand. 4. Set routines. Plan time to connect, play, rest, and eat well. Limit screen time. 5. Be patient. Understand that we all respond differently to change.
With case counts rising rapidly again, it is important that you take care of both your mental health and physical wellbeing. Stress, anxiety, and depression can affect us more than we express. Have conversations about this in your household and watch these helpful videos together. Here is a list of mental health and wellbeing resources.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you (parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, caretaking staff, and our students) for your resilience and patience during these very stressful and difficult times. You are all doing an incredible job with the resources you have. I'm here for you if you need someone to talk to.
Yours in Service,
COVID-19: Ongoing Tips to Reduce Virus Spread
As we begin to ease our public health measures, we will all be living a new normal. 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 indoor, enclosed public spaces or where physical distancing is difficult to maintain; and
- Staying home whenever we are sick for any reason.
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 any indoor, enclosed public space;
- In elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping;
- Using transit, taxi or rideshare services; and
- Sick and going to 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 face covering.
How to Safely Wear a Mask
Image description: Toronto Public Health infographic about how to safely wear a mask. Information on the infographic is listed below.
- Do wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off
- Do make sure it fits to cover your mouth and nose
- Do wash your cloth mask in the laundry
- Do clean surfaces that a dirty mask touches
- Don’t touch your face or mask while using it
- Don’t use masks on children under 2 or those who can’t breathe with them on
- Don’t share your mask with others
- Don’t wear medical masks, keep them for health care workers
The best protection is to stay home, keep a 6-foot distance, and wash hands often.
Today, Mayor John Tory announced that major weekend road closures, as part of the popular ActiveTO suite of programs, will be extended into October.
The 15th annual Nuit Blanche Toronto will be reimagined for a virtual experience on Saturday, October 3 starting at 7 pm until October 12. The online event will present five streams of programming that will include talks, podcasts, a release of the 14-year archive called Nuit History, live streams, and artworks in augmented and virtual reality.
Today, Mayor John Tory and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and Fire Chief and General Manager of the Office of Emergency Management Matthew Pegg provided an update on the City’s response and recovery and rebuild progress.
City of Toronto Issues Open Door Program Call for Applications to Support Building New Affordable Rental Housing
The City of Toronto has released the 2020 Call for Applications for the Open Door program. The program provides an opportunity for private, co-op and non-profit affordable housing organizations to apply for support from the City to create affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income households in Toronto.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa is issuing four section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to close establishments to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the city. These orders will be effective once they are served, and Toronto Public Health will work with these operators to ensure that when they reopen, they do so safely.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, issued orders to three restaurant and bar establishments in the City of Toronto to close under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. A fourth establishment is in the process of being served.
The establishments are:
- MARBL, 455 King St. W.
- King Taps, 100 King St. W.
- Casa Mezcal, 291 King St. W.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is notifying staff and patrons who visited the Yonge Street Warehouse located at 336 Yonge St., Toronto, about potential exposure to COVID-19. The period for potential exposure is September 10 to September 17.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) is notifying staff and patrons who visited the Regulars Bar located at 668 King St. W., about potential exposure to COVID-19. The period for potential exposure is September 13 to September 22.
Province of Ontario Updates
Ontario Providing over Half a Billion Dollars to Protect Vulnerable Seniors against Second Wave of COVID-19
The Ontario government is investing close to $540 million to protect residents, caregivers, and staff in long-term care homes from future surges and waves of COVID-19. The funding is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19.
The Ontario government is investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure our health care system can meet any surge in demand while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents. This investment is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19.
Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs announced the creation of a new short-term Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP) to help businesses adapt to new COVID-19 public health guidelines and protect employees and customers.
The Ontario government is investing nearly $1.3 million through Ontario Creates grants, providing 99 organizations with funding to help bring Canadian film, TV, and digital content to audiences around the world.
The Ontario government is investing $741 million to help clear the backlog of surgeries and build more capacity in the health care system to effectively manage surges and outbreaks in COVID-19 cases. This is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. The plan will help the province quickly identify, prevent, and respond to any scenario in order to protect communities.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has amended order O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, to tighten public health measures in response to the recent rise in cases of COVID-19.
The Government of Canada is protecting the health and safety of all Canadians, while moving quickly to have access to a safe and sustainable economic recovery. This includes taking steps so Canadians can quickly and easily access COVID-19 testing.
There has been a considerable weekly increase in the number of new and active COVID-19 cases in First Nation communities since mid-August.
Government Provides Update on Support for Furloughed Employees Under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, is proposing to extend the current treatment of furloughed employees under the wage subsidy program for the upcoming four-week period, from September 27 to October 24, 2020.
On September 27, 2020, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement on 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: 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
Email: [email protected]toronto.ca
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.