Toronto just declared a state of emergency
Toronto Mayor John Tory has declared a state of emergency in Canada's largest city based on the advice of public health professionals, and in alignment with actions taken by both the federal and provincial governments, to combat the mounting COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are declaring a State of Emergency as part of the city's ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the municipal government can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead," said Tory during a livestreamed press conference from his home, where he is currently in self-isolation.
"I know this is an incredibly tough time for residents across our city. I want them to know that we are doing everything we can at the city to fight this virus while continuing to deliver our essential and critical services."
Tory explained during his announcement that, while a state of emergency does not equate to a lockdown, it does give himself and city staffers better access to resources in a more timely fashion.
The mayor may also pass motions and enact new rules without the involvement of city council under a state of emergency — a power that Tory says he takes seriously and will exercise only with utmost caution.
We are declaring a State of Emergency as part of the City's ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure the municipal government can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead. pic.twitter.com/xsjZQ4Pnf8— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 23, 2020
"It is part of an overall collaborative effort and cooperation with the Government of Canada led by Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Ontario led by Premier Ford – both of whom the Mayor has worked very well with throughout this crisis."
The province of Ontario, which declared a state of emergency last Tuesday, announced less than an hour before Tory's declaration on Monday that all non-essential businesses in the province will be required to shut down by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.
Toronto's medical offer of health advised had all non-essential businesses in the city shut down late last week, but the failure of many to comply appears to be prompting more restrictive actions.
The City of Toronto noted in its state of emergency announcement today that Mayor Tory supports the Ontario government's order to shut down and that he will "support further recommendations and orders from the Medical Officer of Health and the provincial and federal governments if people do not comply with the need to stay home."
Tory also noted during his press conference that police will be able to enforce the province's closure orders, as well as any other orders that aren't enforced by the city's own bylaw officers.
"This declaration sends the strongest possible message that I can, as the Mayor of the City of Toronto, for people to stay home and please change their behaviour," said Tory on Monday afternoon.
"I remain confident that we will get through this pandemic by continuing to work together and all following the advice of our public health professionals."
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