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Toronto Public Health recommending additional measures to stop spread of COVID-19

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TORONTO, ON., Sept. 29, 2020 — Today, Toronto Public Health has reported an increase of 251 new cases of COVID-19, and the city reported 381 yesterday, when the province recorded a record-high 700 cases. Due to the alarming rise in case counts within the city TPH is recommending some additional actions be taken in order to prevent COVID-19 activity in restaurants and bars, where outbreaks are being reported almost daily.

Further to this, in a report going before City Council this week, Dr. de Villa has stressed the need for more actions to mitigate the impact of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. These include reducing the maximum number of people able to sit at each table, both inside and outside, from 10 to six and reducing the total number of patrons permitted to be inside a food and drink establishment at any one time from 100 to 75. TPH also will be recommending that background music and any other background sounds, such as from televisions or other electronic sound producing devices, must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation.

Additional actions recommended by Toronto Public Health to prevent COVID-19 activity and outbreaks in food and drink establishments include:

  • Reducing the total number of patrons permitted to be inside a food and drink establishment at any one time from 100 to 75
  • Requiring establishments to maintain a customer log for each patron, not just one person from the party
  • Reducing the maximum number of people able to sit at each table, both inside and outside, from 10 to six
  • Requiring that background music and any other background sounds, such as from televisions or other electronic sound producing devices, must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation.

This report also recommends extending the existing City of Toronto COVID-19 bylaws until the end of City Council’s first meeting in 2021. This includes the Physical Distancing in Public Spaces bylaws (322-2020 and 323-2020), the Mandatory Mask or Face Covering bylaws (541-2020 and 664-2020), the Public Health Measures for Bars and Restaurant bylaw (665-2020) and the temporary COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings. These bylaws are currently set to expire on October 1, 2020. The report from the Medical Officer of Health is available online.

Meanwhile, today Ontario’s daily total dropped from 700 to 554 infections, and Premier Doug Ford said that Toronto, Ottawa and Peel represent 80% of the cases today.

“There are 251 new cases in Toronto with 106 in Ottawa, 79 in Peel and 43 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott posted on Twitter today.

When asked at the provinces’s media briefing today about Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr David Williams says Ontario Public Health is in the process of addressing how to handle these gatherings as well as Christmas gatherings. With Thanksgiving coming up Dr. Williams says there should be an answer soon regarding gathering restrictions but at the moment Ontarians should continue to adhere to their social bubble restriction of 10 indoors.

Toronto Public Health has also identified that COVID-19 case clusters and outbreaks have occurred among staff and patrons in a diverse range of workplaces. All workplaces should support physical distancing for employees and visitors, and where this is challenging, require masks or face coverings. The report recommends that the Province of Ontario act in support of this recommendation.

Read more top stories at TOtimes.ca and MTLtimes.ca.

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