Toronto insists on slow, cautious COVID-19 re-opening

Toronto’s four pandemic bylaws mandating masks, social distancing, remain on the books until at least Oct. 1

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Even if Ontario lifted all of its COVID-19 measures tomorrow, Toronto’s pandemic bylaws will remain on the books until at least Oct. 1.

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Last month, council voted to extend four city bylaws that impose anti-COVID measures, including indoor dining restrictions, the regulation of social distancing in public parks and squares and the wearing of masks in residential and business common areas, until at least Oct. 1.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said measures are always under assessment, and that lessons learned from other parts of the world highlight the importance of taking things slow.

“Evidence from the world over suggests a slow, cautious approach with respect to re-opening is best, in order to sustain the progress that has been made,” she said.

“Fundamentally, of course, it has to be driven by the data that has been our approach throughout the pandemic; it has served us well, and I think it’s exactly the way we need to continue.”

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Mayor John Tory said he shares the opinion of the GTHA Mayors and Chairs in following the path set by Queen’s Park.

“I’m in discussions with everybody in the provincial government up to and including the premier on basically a daily basis,” Tory said.

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“All of us want to see as many things open as soon as possible, but safely done.”

Tory said a special meeting of city council could be called if changes are required to bylaws.

The focus, he said, should be on closing the gap between those fully vaccinated and those with only their first dose.

As of Wednesday, Toronto has administered 3.7-million COVID-19 vaccines, with over half of the city’s adults fully vaccinated.

To increase those numbers, walk-ins will now be accepted at the city-run clinic at the Toronto Congress Centre — with 2,000 slots made available daily.

Toronto reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 68 patients in hospital, 24 receiving intensive care, and one new death.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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