Toronto just cancelled all events between now and Canada Day
Toronto residents who were hoping to see most public health restrictions lifted and a return to some version of normal by the summer will be disappointed to learn that the city has officially cancelled all in-person, city-run and city-approved events until at least July 1.
Mayor John Tory made the announcement during the city's COVID-19 press briefing Wednesday afternoon, explaining that the extension now goes until July 1 and includes Canada Day celebrations and festivities.
Today's announcement includes festivals and other large, in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the City or other public locations, such as roads, parks and civic squares.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) February 24, 2021
"Major festivals and events require long lead times for planning, rely on City sites, supports or permissions, and present higher public health risks given limits to physical distancing and exposure to attendees from outside of the area," reads a city news release about the move.
"The need to sustain essential services also limits the City's ability to support third-party event organizers to ensure public safety."
The decision to cancel all in-person events was made in consultation with Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, the city's Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Police Service and major event organizers, Tory said Wednesday.
It also follows the previous cancellation of all events up to March 31, and the city says the move supports the directive that physical distancing is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Major annual events that will be impacted by this decision include:
The news comes as Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) organizers announced plans to proceed with an in-person event this summer if public health measures allow for it, and Tory said the city is not yet prepared to make decisions about events beyond July 1.
"Throughout this pandemic, Torontonians have demonstrated their resilience, creativity and determination, including many event organizers who have brought us together virtually to celebrate cherished events and traditions," Tory said in a statement.
"I want to thank all of these organizations for understanding the need to avoid large in-person gatherings in the coming months and thank you to those who have worked to offer virtual events to keep the spirit of these celebrations and in some cases the fundraising efforts going during these tough times," he continued.
"I strongly encourage the business community and as many Toronto residents as possible to support these events and the causes they in turn support. We must persevere to stop the spread of COVID-19."
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