Toronto will enter the red zone with extra rules this weekend and here's what that means
As cases of COVID-19 continue to soar in Ontario and more specifically in Toronto, the city will soon be entering the Red-Control level of the province's new colour-coded COVID-19 framework, along with additional restrictions put in place by the city's chief medical officer of health.
Speaking during the city's press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Mayor John Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa announced that Toronto will be entering a stricter stage of the province's framework than was previously announced, and they also introduced a number of additional rules, including keeping indoor dining shuttered, on top of what is already required by the provincial government in this "Stringent Measures" level.
"The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto," Dr. de Villa told reporters with urgency Tuesday. "More action is needed to protect the people of Toronto from the rampant spread of COVID-19."
Today's summary of #COVID19 cases in Toronto: as of 2 p.m. on November 9, there have been 32,430 cases (533 new since November 8), 165 people are hospitalized (8 new), 1,418 deaths (7 new) & 27,105 people have recovered (297 new). More info: https://t.co/JEhqEudCND pic.twitter.com/d528mwJJKY— Toronto Public Health (@TOPublicHealth) November 10, 2020
Under the Control level of the province's framework, indoor dining, gyms and fitness studios, meeting/event spaces and casino/gaming establishments are all permitted to reopen with a number of rules in place.
But Dr. Eileen de Villa is using her powers under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to override some of these guidelines.
As a result, indoor dining, group fitness classes, meeting/event spaces and casino/gaming establishments will all be required to remain closed for a period of at least 28 days beginning on Nov. 14.
Under the provincial red zone rules, cinemas and performing arts venues must also remain closed, and any personal care services requiring the removal of masks are also prohibited.
Additionally, Dr. de Villa today outlined a number of recommendations for residents of Toronto to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which she described as "alarming."
#COVID19 is spreading at an alarming rate in TO. That's why I'm taking action now to reduce virus spread in our city, save lives, preserve our health system for those who need it most & mitigate broader health, social & economic impacts: https://t.co/Oy5jJ9H0Ta— Dr. Eileen de Villa (@epdevilla) November 10, 2020
Despite the province's current gathering limits, Toronto's top doctor said everyone should limit the people they come into contact with to only other household members, with the exception of essential supports for mental health purposes.
She also said everyone should be limiting all in-person activities and only leaving the house for essential reasons, such as work, school, healthcare, shopping for food/medicine and exercise.
Dr. de Villa also reiterated that everyone should be extra strict with mask usage, social distancing and hand washing right now, adding that we are currently on a concerning upward trajectory and the time to act is now.
"In my professional opinion, the greatest harm would be to allow COVID-19 to continue to spread at this rate. It's logical to assume that it will only get worse," she warned.
"To everyone in Toronto, I want to warn you in the plainest possible terms that COVID-19 is out there at levels we have not seen before. You should assume it is everywhere and that, without proper precautions and protections, you are at risk of infection."
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