COVID-19

I want to ensure you are receiving up to date information about the COVID-19 situation in the City of Toronto. I am sending out regular updates – please sign up for my email list if you are not already on it.

Please check https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/ for the latest information, resources and facts.

Please check the Changes to City Services webpage for updates:
https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/

Councillor Fletcher’s COVID-19 Updates

July 18, 2020
July 10, 2020
July 4, 2020
July 1, 2020
June 24, 2020
June 20, 2020
June 10, 2020
June 4, 2020
May 29, 2020
May 27, 2020
May 23, 2020
May 21, 2020
May 16, 2020
May 13, 2020
May 8, 2020
May 5, 2020
May 1, 2020
April 27, 2020
April 22, 2020
April 18, 2020
April 15, 2020
April 9, 2020
April 4, 2020
April 2, 2020
March 30, 2020
March 25, 2020
March 23, 2020
March 19, 2020
March 13, 2020
March 11, 2020

211

Residents who need to access, or are seeking information on, social and community supports and services, should call 211 for non-emergency requests and information. 211 is a 24/7 help line and web service that connects residents to social and community services. 211 is working closely with community agencies to ensure they are continually updating their database with the most up-to-date programming and resource information.

Mandatory Masks and Face Coverings

City Council voted unanimously in favour of requiring masks or face coverings in all enclosed public places as of July 7 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Effective July 2, 2020, masks or face coverings are mandatory when travelling on the TTC. To help those without a mask, the TTC will be distributing one million non-medical masks. The TTC will not be enforcing the use of masks or face coverings, and those who do not have a mask or face covering will still be permitted to board TTC vehicles. Learn more here:
http://www.ttc.ca/COVID-19/Masks.jsp

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable, and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of COVID-19. People may unknowingly pass the infection to others because they do not have symptoms (asymptomatic) or have not yet developed symptoms (pre-symptomatic). The highest risk for infection is with prolonged close contact.

The new bylaw will require businesses to adopt a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn in indoor public spaces under their control. The new bylaw will apply to all indoor spaces that are openly accessible to the public, including grocery stores, community centres, libraries, etc.

Learn more here: http://councillorpaulafletcher.ca/update-on-mandatory-masks-and-face-coverings/

City of Toronto Moving into Stage 2 of Reopening

The City of Toronto is preparing to oversee the safe restart of some services and partial reopening of many businesses following today’s Province of Ontario announcement that Toronto can join the rest of the province in Stage 2 of the provincial reopening on June 24.

Businesses that can reopen for modified services with appropriate public health measures in place and subject to conditions include:

  • restaurants and bars for delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining only
  • shopping malls, except for indoor dining spaces including any tables and seating in food courts
  • personal care services, such as barber shops, hair styling, nails, tattoos & aesthetic services (but not for care of a patron’s face, such as facials and beard trims)
  • drive-in cinemas and drive-thru concerts, theatrical productions, performance or artistic events.

Many recreational and cultural spaces can also reopen, subject to conditions:

  • water recreational services, including splash pads, wading pools, indoor and outdoor swimming pools
  • community centres for a very limited number of modified uses, including certain outdoor sports and recreational activities, day camp, pools, splash pads, spray pads and wading pools, and indoor activities and services other than non-aquatic indoor sports and recreational fitness activities.
  • Campgrounds, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and heritage institutions
  • libraries with limited on-site services.

Examples of activities that can resume, subject to conditions:

  • film and television production
  • tours and guide services
  • certain personal services.

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, businesses and facilities that re-open to the public must ensure to the fullest extent possible that customers and members of the public who visit the business or facility are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons.

COVID-19 remains a risk in our community and no service can resume or space reopen without the proper public health measures in place. Led by Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre, the City of Toronto has published a number of guidance documents for businesses and service providers to ensure they are operating with the safety of staff, customers, and the community as a priority. Businesses should locate and implement the guidance for their industry.The Province of Ontario’s reopening framework is available online: ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario Opens in new window

The City is taking action to aggressively halt the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto.

To slow down and ultimately stop the spread of COVID 19, save lives, protect the healthcare system and ensure the economy and society can rebound more quickly, the following measures will take effect April 1, 2020 for up to 12 weeks:

– All individuals with COVID-19 are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health to stay home, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act for 14 days

– All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are also ordered to stay home by the Medical Officer of Health for 14 days

– Anyone who is not ill or has not travelled, is strongly directed to stay home except for the following reasons:

  • accessing healthcare or medication
  • shop for groceries once per week
  • walk their dogs
  • get daily exercise while maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres

– People returning from international travel must stay home, already a federal order

– Anyone over the age of 70, as the province announced this week, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible

– Increased supports for self-isolation for those experiencing homelessness

– Only essential businesses remain open, and those businesses must maximize physical distancing and infection prevention and control practices, and limit in-person access to those businesses, as much as possible

– Increased cleaning and active screening of employees at all businesses.

On April 2, 2020 the Mayor signed an emergency order regulating physical distancing in City of Toronto parks and public squares.

Mayor Tory has announced the fine for people failing to keep at least two metres of distance from others in City of Toronto parks and public spaces has been set at $1,000. The Chief Justice of the Province of Ontario approved the City’s request for a set fine Friday.

Any two people who don’t live together, who fail to keep two metres of distance between them in a park or public square, can receive a $1,000 ticket – the maximum set fine available.

The Mayor introduced Emergency Order No. 1 – Emergency Physical Distancing Regulations with respect to Parks, and Public Squares on Thursday, April 2 as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to encourage people from separate households to keep at least two metres distance between each other to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

The City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team will be monitoring locations across Toronto.

Click here to read the April 2nd news release from the City.

April 1, 2020 Toronto Public Health presentation

Mayor Tory Declared a State of Emergency

On March 23, 2020 Mayor Tory declared a State of Emergency in the City of Toronto after receiving advice from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and the Office of Emergency Management.

The City is not taking this situation lightly and is taking strict measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Declaring an emergency will ensure the City can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.

Click here to read the City’s news release.

Physical Distancing 

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health is urging physical distancing as a way to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community. Physical distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with. 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 physical distancing even more seriously. Click here to learn more.

The Mayor and Medical Officer of Health have stressed:
  • Do not make multiple trips to the grocery store
  • Do not have friends over for dinner parties
  • Do not arrange play dates for children
  • Do not congregate in playgrounds or dog parks

This is a difficult period for all of us and self-isolation can be hard both physically and mentally. While it’s important we stay physically away from each other, there are things you can do to stay connected:

  • Call your neighbour to see how they’re doing
  • Use programs like Skype, FaceTime or Zoom to video call your friends or family
  • Set up a virtual games night or movie watching party
  • Only go out when you need to and practice physical distancing (take a walk)

Large Gatherings and Events

The the Government of Ontario announced on March 17, 2020 that it is taking decisive action by making an order declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In doing so, Ontario is using every power possible to continue to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families.

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2.

Read the full statement online here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/6/ontario-permits-more-businesses-and-services-to-reopen-in-the-coming-days.html

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Toronto is extending the cancellation of City-led and City-permitted major festivals and events with attendance of more than 250 people through July 31, and those with attendance of 25,000 or more through August 31. The resumption or cancellation of professional sporting events is not included in this decision. Click here to read the media release.

TTC

TTC is now allowing back door boarding on buses. This change has been made to allow for further social distancing. Masks or face coverings are also mandatory on the TTC. Please continue to treat employees and fellow commuters with respect during your journey.

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

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
647-780-5719 or 647-466-5326
support@eastforeast.com
https://www.eastforeast.com/

Friendly Neighbour Hotline for low-income seniors
1-855-581-9580
Open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm
http://uhnopenlab.ca/project/hotline/

The Pocket Community Association (for those who live in this neighbourhood)
https://pppweb.thepocket.ca/

Food Hamper Delivery Service
The City is working with the Red Cross and other partners to provide food hamper delivery to seniors and others in need who are unable to leave their homes. With support from United Way of Greater Toronto, this service is made available for qualifying seniors and others that are in self-isolation who do not have alternative access to food (through family, friends, availability of food delivery services) and are currently not receiving such assistance from another community food program. Call 1-833-204-9952 for eligibility and registration information.

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

Residential Tenants

I’ve heard from tenants who are worried about not being able to pay rent and possibly being evicted. Eviction orders for residential tenants have been postponed by the province. No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice in Ontario. Eviction order enforcement has also been postponed.

Emergency bylaw enforcement and investigation services continue for emergency orders and in response to unsafe conditions, including:

  • no heat
  • no water
  • boarding of vacant properties
  • illegal dumping

Non-emergency building and bylaw inspections and enforcement have been suspended. To make an emergency complaint, residents should call 311.

On June 29th City Council adopted new health and safety rules for apartment building owners and operators to follow during the COVID-19 pandemic. These rules aim to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in multi-tenanted buildings. Until October 31, 2020, apartment building owners and operators registered in the RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards bylaw enforcement program are required to:

  • provide hand sanitizer in all common areas that remain open, such as building entrances and laundry rooms.
  • ensure non-essential common areas, such as gyms and playrooms, remain closed in compliance with provincial restrictions
  • clean frequently-touched surfaces in all open common areas with household cleaners and disinfectants twice daily and when visibly dirty, and
  • post Toronto Public Health signage on physical distancing and shared laundry rooms.

More information is available on the RentSafeTO for Building Owners webpage. If you have health and safety concerns, talk to your landlord or building manager first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.

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 https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/ 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

Prevention Measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • Stay home when you are ill
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid shaking hands – try an “elbow bump” instead

COVIDhelpTO

Social Planning Toronto released the CovidHelpTO website to help front-line workers navigate the financial and housing support programs announced over the past couple of months.

The pace of change has been overwhelming, and there’s been a lot of confusion around the details of these programs. CovidHelpTO was designed to help you answer your clients’ most basic questions around financial and housing supports — such as eligibility requirements for the CERB, what help is available for people having trouble paying their rent, support for those who’ve recently exhausted EI benefits, and more.

Watch for translations into 10 languages, which will be added over the next week: Simplified Chinese, Tamil, Spanish, Farsi, Urdu, Korean, Bengali, Arabic, Somali, and French.

Home

Legal Information 

People looking for legal information on the numerous questions arising from the COVID-19 situation can find them on a special section of Community Legal Education Ontario’s (CLEO) Steps to Justice website at https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19. The site, updated on a daily basis, gives answers to more than 50 legal questions, including questions about emergency benefits assistance, Employment Insurance, getting evicted for non-payment of rent, and what to do about a family law matter in the midst of the closure of the courts.

COVID-19 legal questions?