Toronto to close City Hall and all municipal buildings over COVID-19 outbreak
In an effort to ramp up the city's efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced that all non-essential City staff will be sent home starting today and all non-core services are shutting down until further notice.
Tory explained the move in a lengthy Twitter thread published earlier today while emphasizing that essential and critical services will continue to operate.
In the wake of today’s State of Emergency declaration by the province – we have been reviewing what further steps the City government needs to take to protect the health of our employees and all Toronto residents. pic.twitter.com/THiHzkLNaJ— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 17, 2020
He said emergency services, Toronto Water, Toronto Hydro and TTC operations will all continue, and workers in the shelter system and long-term care homes as well as garbage and recycling collection will also proceed with their jobs.
Anyone else that works for the City will be sent home imminently, and all City buildings that weren't already closed (including City Hall) will now be closed to the public.
"Just as we are urging all employers, staff will continue to be paid and will not be laid off," Tory wrote. "We are doing this to set an example, following the advice of our medical officer of health."
I am doing everything I can to make sure that our City is doing everything possible, in full cooperation with other levels of government, to minimize the impact #COVID19 will have on our economy, while allowing for recovery to take place as soon as possible.— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 17, 2020
Tory also said he met with BIAs from across the city today as part of his Economic Support and Recovery Task Force, and he's made it clear to City staff that extraordinary measures and a contingency fund are needed in order to help residents in these trying times.
"I hope the seriousness of today's emergency declaration will make it clear to every resident how important their personal actions will be in the coming days," Tory wrote while emphasizing the need for people to stay home and practice social distancing.
"I am confident that we will get through this because people are out there in our city right now looking after each other and helping each other because they know it is the right thing to do."
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