Coronavirus Update March 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

I am reaching out again to provide a new update on the COVID-19 situation. I have heard from many of you with your questions and concerns. I know how difficult this is and I am following developments very closely. We’re almost at the end of the first week in an unprecedented situation.

Today I had a call with our MPP Peter Tabuns, MP Julie Dabrusin and Trustee Jennifer Story where we discussed how we’re handling things in Toronto-Danforth. I am also checking in on our more vulnerable residents.

I want to thank all of our healthcare workers, the staff at Toronto Public Health and the staff in the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. I also want to thank everyone who has offered support and volunteered time to help neighbours.

I will continue to send out regular updates to keep you informed. Please check the Toronto Public Health website at toronto.ca/coronavirus for the latest information, resources and facts.

Click here for the latest statement from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

Social Distancing

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is urging social distancing as a way to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community. Social distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with. Social distancing measures include:

  • keeping 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others
  • avoiding mass gatherings
  • avoiding crowds

Toronto Public Health is encouraging residents to stay home, when possible, and reduce interactions with others. If we want to be successful in protecting ourselves, our families and our community against this virus, we have to take social distancing even more seriously. Click here to learn more.

Closures

Based on recommendations from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, to help slow the rate of COVID-19 infection in Toronto and protect vulnerable populations, the City of Toronto has cancelled most City-operated programs and closed a number of City facilities. All City buildings, including City Hall, Metro Hall and all civic centres are closed to the public.

Services and facility operations are tentatively scheduled to resume Sunday, April 5, 2020. Click here for or further information.

On Tuesday the province declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The province has ordered the following establishments to close:

  • all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout and food delivery
  • all facilities providing indoor recreational programs
  • all public libraries
  • all private schools
  • all licensed child care centres
  • all movie cinemas
  • all theatres, including those offering live performances of music, dance and other art forms
  • all concert venues

Grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses are not affected. Those vital for day to day life will remain open. Click here to read the province’s news release.

The City’s Medical Officer of Health is also recommending non-essential businesses, such as hair and nail salons, clothing stores, etc. close for the time being.

TTC

TTC is now allowing back door boarding on buses. This change has been made to allow for further social distancing. You may also notice some TTC employees wearing masks. This does not mean they are sick or that our system is unsafe. Starting today, TTC employees will be allowed to wear masks if they choose to. Please continue to treat our employees and your fellow commuters with respect during your journey.

Click here to check the TTC’s website for further details and updates.

Parking

I’ve heard from residents with concerns about parking enforcement given the current COVID-19 situation. I’ve advocated for changes and I’d like to share that the Toronto Police Service is making adjustments to parking enforcement effective immediately.

Until further notice, parking enforcement has been suspended for the following offences:

  • On-Street Permit Parking Areas
  • On-Street Time Limit Offences such a 1, 2 and 3 Hour Parking
  • North York Winter Maintenance Bylaw
  • Expired Vehicle Validation License Plates
  • Boulevard Parking
  • School Zones with posted No Stopping/No Standing/No Parking Signage

The above parking offences may be enforced in exceptional circumstances where a significant traffic safety, and/or of community concern exists. Parking Enforcement Officers will continue to have discretion to use enforcement tools as necessary to ensure the safe and orderly movement of vehicles in the city.

All other parking offences will continue to be enforced. This includes no stopping, no standing and no parking offences, rush hour routes and also pay and display/metered areas where payment is required. This is to ensure an adequate level of street parking, traffic flow, and maintain traffic and pedestrian safety.

Groups Offering Assistance

I’ve been reaching out to community members and wanted to share with you the groups I’ve heard about who are offering assistance. They are connecting volunteers with people who need help with tasks such as getting groceries, walking their dog or picking up medication.

East for East
https://www.eastforeast.com/

The Pocket
https://pppweb.thepocket.ca/

Friendly Neighbour Hotline for low-income seniors
http://uhnopenlab.ca/project/hotline/

I’ll be posting updates on these groups and any new groups on my social media and website. If you’re able to, please sign up to volunteer. If you need help, please let these groups know. We’re all in this together and as neighbours we’ll get through it.

Business and Employment Concerns

I have been in touch with many of our local businesses and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) about their concerns and how they will get through this situation.

The City is doing everything possible, in full cooperation with the provincial and federal governments, to minimize that impact and see an economic recovery take place as soon as possible.

The City has created the Economic Support and Recovery Task Force to identify immediate and longer-term economic recovery strategies for residents and businesses, with a focus on supporting those segments of the economy that are most strongly impacted by COVID-19, such as tourism, hospitality and entertainment. Click here to learn more.

Supports for residents including expedited access to employment insurance benefits as well as protection for renters and job protection for those who are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 are available from the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. More information and instructions for accessing employment insurance benefits are available at:
https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

Further information on resources for Canadian businesses from the federal government is available here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/maintaingrowimprovebusiness/resources-for-canadian-businesses.html

Read the Premier’s announcement on job protection for workers during the COVID-19 situation here:
https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/premier-ford-announces-job-protection-for-workers-during-the-covid-19-situation.html

COVID-19 Assessment Centre

There is a COVID-19 Assessment Centre located at 825 Coxwell Ave – the entrance is off of Mortimer Avenue, west of the Michael Garron Hospital Emergency Department. This location provides screening, assessment and testing for individuals in East Toronto who are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19.

The Assessment Centre is not open for walk-in visits at this time. Please call ahead to book an appointment: 416-469-6858. Patients who do not have symptoms should not visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

Toronto Public Health Hotline

People are encouraged to check the Toronto Public Health website toronto.ca/coronavirus for resources and information. If you need further assistance, you can call the Toronto Public Health Hotline at 416-338-7600 which is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. They are receiving a very high volume of calls, so please only call if you cannot find the information on the website.

Telehealth Ontario

Please only call if you require medical advice as Telehealth Ontario is experiencing a high volume of calls. The phone number is at 1-866-797-0000. A Registered Nurse will take your call and they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Travel

An official global travel advisory is in effect: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Please visit the Government of Canada’s website for further information and updates:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

Future Updates

Please monitor toronto.ca/coronavirus for the latest updates. I will continue to send out important information regularly.

Click here to read the latest update from our MPP, Peter Tabuns.

We are all in this together and it is important more than ever to look out for one another. Please stay informed by checking evidence-based, credible sources of information.

Remember to take care of yourselves and please contact my office if we can be of assistance.