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Toronto COVID-19 update: Face coverings now mandatory in apartments and condos

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TORONTO, ON., July 29, 2020 — Today, Toronto City Council voted in favour of a temporary bylaw requiring masks or face coverings in common areas in apartments and condominiums to protect the health and safety of our communities by reducing the spread of COVID-19.

The strengthened safety measure responds to concerns that the opportunity for more close contact, especially in indoor settings, will result in more virus spread.

The new bylaw, recommended by the Medical Officer of Health and City Solicitor, will require building owners or operators to have a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn by individuals in the enclosed common spaces, such as lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms, and post corresponding signage.

The bylaw formalizes last week’s strong recommendation from Mayor Tory and the Medical Officer of Health for all building owners and operators to proactively require masks or face coverings in common areas. Like the City’s existing mask or face covering bylaw, the recommendation includes exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, children under two years old, and other reasonable accommodations. The bylaw comes into effect on Wednesday, August 5.

A hot summer day in Toronto, photo by Terry Lankstead

Meanwhile, as The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19 and prepares for Stage 3 of reopening on Friday Mayor John Tory and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa today provided an update.

There are 15,334 cases of COVID-19 in the city, including 13 confirmed cases and six probable new COVID-19 infections. There are 91 people hospitalized. In total, 13,824 people have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 39 since yesterday. To date, there have been 1,153 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform.

Today, the Ontario Government announced that Toronto will move to Stage 3 reopening on Friday, July 31. This decision was based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including a lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, capacity for rapid case and contact management and an increase in testing.

As the city moves to Stage 3, it will be important for residents to closely monitor how they are interacting with others to help stop the spread of COVID-19. There must be a strong effort to keep the reproductive number to less than one to avoid a surge in the virus spread in our city. At the peak of the pandemic, the reproductive number was estimated to be between three to four. It remains critical that residents should continue to follow Toronto Public Health’s advice to stay home when they are sick, wash your hands often, practise physical distancing and wear a face mask in all indoor public spaces.

As more of the city’s businesses continue to reopen, residents can learn about what to expect and what is required as Toronto moves into the new normal and they begin to visit more establishments and take part in more activities at toronto.ca/ReopenTO.

On Friday, July 24, the Province of Ontario’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) came into force. Orders and regulations previously made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), are continued under the ROA and they are being enforced by the City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team. More information about the ROA is available on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website .

Provincial orders under the ROA and the City bylaw on physical distancing remain in effect. Yesterday, the City received 106 complaints related to parks use and physical distancing. Officers have cautioned more than 6,500 people this month about physical distancing, alcohol, bonfires and littering bylaws. Yesterday, enforcement officers issued three tickets related to liquor, open fires, and social distancing.

As COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, residents visiting a beach or park must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding. Torontonians are reminded to respect parks and beaches for the enjoyment of all. Bonfires, littering and parties involving excessive alcohol are not permitted. If a litter bin is full, residents are asked to take their garbage with them so it can be disposed of properly. Barbecues and hibachi grills are not allowed on beaches.

The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.

For more articles, visit totimes.ca and mtltimes.ca

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