Toronto to Add Its Own Restrictions to Ontario’s Reopening Framework

Toronto to Add Its Own Restrictions to Ontario’s Reopening Framework
People wait in line at the Women's College COVID-19 testing facility in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 18, 2020. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)
Andrew Chen

Toronto officials announced additional restrictions to Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening framework.

The new restrictions ban all indoor services of food and drink, as well as operations involving high-contact spaces such as casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments, for the next 28 days.

“We see the number of COVID-19 cases in our city continue to climb with more than 500 cases a day yesterday and again today,” said Mayor John Tory during a press briefing on Tuesday. “Those case counts don’t point us to relaxing roadblocks, much as we want to for many different reasons.”
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said that the city will formally be labeled as a “red” or “control” zone, under Ontario’s color-coded reopening framework, on Nov. 14.

Currently, only the Peel region is listed as a “red” zone, a “stringent measure” zone and one level below the “lockdown” zone with the most restrictions.

“While our hospitals have capacities right now, we know that there are concerns that circumstances could change very quickly, as we have seen in Peel, where hospitals were overwhelmed recently by COVID cases. It happened very quickly, which underlines actions now, before it happens here in Toronto,” said Tory.

De Villa said the latest figure showed a 5.9 percent positivity rate for all Toronto residents who were tested for COVID-19, the disease the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus causes, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 7.

“I recognize that these actions will have economic impacts and I am truly sorry for this. I really am. However, in my professional opinion the greatest harm would be to allow COVID-19 to continue to spread at this rate,” said de Villa.

“It is logical to assume that it will only get worse and it is logical to believe that if we effectively reduce the spread the economy will benefit in the long run. If action is not taken we can expect to see even more cases of COVID-19 which means more illness and more deaths.”