new covid restrictions toronto

Toronto mayor says more COVID-19 restrictions are coming within a few days

After leaving Ontario's old COVID-19 restriction framework on Saturday, Toronto is now officially under the new standardized "red zone" rules — and then some.

Residents of Canada's largest city must currently abide by not only the province's coronavirus orders, but a new set of restrictions handed down last week by Toronto Public Health.

As of right now, indoor dining is allowed (with a maximum of 10 people per venue) in all red zones but Toronto, where the insides of bars and restaurants remain closed under municipal orders. Gyms, on the other hand, are open but with strict public health measures in place.

Both levels of government are strongly urging people to stay home for all but essential reasons such as grocery shopping and doctor's appointments, and medical officers say that nobody should visit anyone outside their own household.

And yet, while it's too early to tell if these new measures are working to slow the spread of COVID-19, experts fear that it won't be enough: Deaths are once again rising in long-term care settings, and new infections continue to soar with 1,487 confirmed across Ontario as of Monday morning — 508 in Toronto alone.

Premier Doug Ford warned during a press conference on Friday that he would not hesitate to implement a full lockdown, should his COVID-19 command table indicate this is necessary, but the province has yet to reveal what exactly that would entail.

"Everything is on the table," said the premier after announcing new, lower thresholds for his government's colour-coded COVID-19 restriction framework on Friday.

"When I get the green light, and Dr. Williams says the tables come back and they want a lockdown, I will lock down quicker than you can blink your eyes."

Toronto Mayor John Tory has been conveying similarly ominous sentiments ever since, even going so far as tell reporters that new restrictions will be coming along for Toronto "within days."

"We should be looking as we have been this weekend, further measures that we can undertake to better protect the people of Toronto in light of these numbers not going anywhere but a bad direction," said Tory to CP24 on Sunday, noting that he was already discussion with the province and other GTA leaders.

The mayor said that several different measures were being considered, including a cap on the number of people allowed inside retail stores and other indoor public spaces.

"I am trying my best with the medical officer, as are all the other people including the premier, to keep people healthy and to stop this very alarming situation from turning into a much-worse disaster that would would take more lives," he said.

"What we need to do is cut down on large crowds of people or opportunities for crowds of people."

Toronto's Board of Health is meeting today to discuss, among other things, additional restrictions on public life and how the economic impacts of further lockdown measures could be mitigated.

Further support from both the federal and provincial governments will be needed, according to Tory and the Board, which is now calling upon both to provide additional funds for mobile testing options, business supports and paid sick leave for workers.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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