More COVID-19 in-store restrictions for Toronto in days, mayor says

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New COVID-19 restrictions for Toronto expected in a few days could include capacity limits in stores and malls, Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Monday.

Tory expanded on comments made to The Star a day earlier, saying that city and Toronto public health officials discussed with their provincial counterparts over the weekend new measures to stop the “alarming” spread of the disease. virus and increasing death toll.

“I am doing my best with the doctor, like everyone else, including the Prime Minister, to keep people healthy and to prevent this very alarming situation from turning into a much worse disaster costing more lives” , did he declare. .

The virus is “re-entering long-term care and it would make a lot more people sick. And we also want to keep schools open, which is what we are really trying to do, ”with increasing restrictions, he said.

Tory told CP24 “a number” of metrics are being discussed, including “retail where sometimes you have big crowds versus a small store, or big crowds show up,” Tory said. . “What we need to do is reduce the crowds of people or the opportunities for the crowds of people.”

People buy is good for the pandemic economy and for keeping people in jobs, Tory said, but some people buy without masks and others take them off “and that causes the virus to spread, we So let’s take a look at a number of things that would do that.

He said that “the question of whether you have capacity restrictions… in stores and malls must be on the table.”

Tory said Premier Doug Ford had “rightly” said everything is on the table to prevent the deadly spread of COVID-19, so the city will take it on board.

Better for the province to issue the new orders – the region, including neighboring Peel, is a COVID-19 hotspot, Tory noted, adding that the city would move on its own if the province did not. did not.

Ontario reported 1,487 other infections on Monday – up from 1,242 the previous Monday – and 10 new deaths. Of those newly infected, 508 infections are in Toronto, 392 in Peel Region and 170 in York Region.

Toronto received potentially brilliant information on COVID-19 on Monday, Public Health Chief Dr. Eileen de Villa telling the health committee that she hopes a vaccine for the virus begins to be available in Toronto in the first three months after 2021.

De Villa has previously suggested who she believes should get protection first in a process that is expected to take months.

On Monday, the Conservatives also urged the Ford government to act to ensure that people who may be infected do not continue to work because they are not entitled to sick pay.

“Employers should be the first to say, both because we’re good corporate citizens and because we don’t want people showing up sick and infecting all of our other employees, that they’re going to step in and tell people ‘Go and get tested,’ Tory said.

“If you can produce a positive test for us, which would be a sad event, we will support you during the two weeks you have to be home to recover from the illness, so people don’t come to work sick. These are the kinds of things I support. “

If employers don’t do this, the Ontario government must step in, Tory said.

A viewer of CP24 asked the mayor why places of worship are not subject to the same strict restrictions as bars and restaurants.

Tory suggested that many religious gathering places have taken steps to limit overcrowding and “there is a difference between a church that has a size and an ability to space people out.”

He also suggested that Toronto has a “cap” on the size of religious gatherings, but in fact the limit of 50 is an unenforceable recommendation from De Villa’s public health, not a cap.

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Provincial rules for religious gatherings, weddings and funerals set a limit of 30 percent of normal capacity with no maximum number of participants.

In Brampton this weekend, law enforcement staff and police officers responded to several complaints about Diwali celebratory gatherings.

Correction – November 16, 2020: This article was edited to correct the attribution of a quote.

David Rider is the Bureau Chief of Star’s City Hall and a journalist covering town hall and city politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

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