My comments regarding Bill 184 at City Council

Posted on July 30, 2020

Bill 184 puts new onerous and unfair rules on tenants who are fighting to keep their homes. City staff have identified a number of concerns with this Bill and provided proposed changes for consideration. Yesterday, Council adopted my motion to direct the City Solicitor to commence a challenge to those amendments on the grounds that they are contrary to rules of procedural fairness and natural justice. My comments at City Council as I introduced this motion is available below.

Ellis Bike Lane Update

Posted on July 30, 2020

After years of advocacy by local residents we are excited to announce that bike lanes have been installed on Ellis Avenue between Queensway and Lake Shore Blvd. This includes permanently closing the Southbound Right-Turn channel at Lake Shore Blvd. The channel has been be closed with 2 concrete barriers which have been covered by art by local stART artists, Anya Mielniczek, Leyland Adams and Andre Kan.

City of Toronto preparing residents and businesses for Stage 3 reopening on Friday

Posted on July 30, 2020

The City of Toronto is preparing to oversee the safe restart of more businesses and services following today’s Province of Ontario announcement that Toronto can enter Stage 3 of the provincial reopening this Friday, July 31.

On July 13, the Province announced the implementation of Stage 3 of their “Reopening Ontario” framework for certain regions of Ontario that did not include the City of Toronto. Under the Stage 3 order and regulation made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen, with workplace safety and public health measures in place. With today’s announcement, Toronto will now move to Stage 3 later this week, five weeks after entering Stage 2.

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, as of Friday, July 31, Toronto residents are allowed to participate in expanded social gatherings and organized public events. Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted. These gatherings remain subject to compliance with provincial physical distancing requirements of a two-metre distance from anyone outside your household or 10-person social circle. The City’s bylaws on physical distancing in City parks and squares remains in effect, as does the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw for indoor public spaces.

A number of City facilities and amenities will reopen in Stage 3, including the City’s more than 800 playgrounds and play structures, community and recreation centres, and libraries for all on-site services. City staff are now preparing for these additional openings, including inspecting and readying playgrounds and play structures. Following guidance from Toronto Public Health, outdoor playground equipment will not be sanitized. Updated signage with public health guidance will be posted.

Toronto Public Health encourages children to enjoy physical activity and play outdoors. Playing outside is fun, exciting, and important for healthy child development. Parents and guardians can help children stay safe from COVID-19 at playgrounds by:

  • Teaching children proper handwashing, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and cover their cough
  • Monitoring yourself and your child for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Staying home if you or your child is sick.
  • Bringing your own hand sanitizer, wipes, bottled water, sun screen and personal items
  • Keeping a two metre (six feet) distance from others, when possible
  • Wearing a mask or face covering when it is difficult to maintain physical distancing; do not apply a mask on children under the age of two
  • Washing hands before and after using outdoor playground

If a playground is busy, Toronto Public Health recommends finding another park or going back later. Toronto Public Health has created guidelines for parents and guardians PDF to help children play safely at reopened playgrounds.

Under the Province’s Stage 3 order, many businesses and facilities are able to reopen, subject to compliance with reopening conditions and implementing mandatory public health measures, including maintaining contact information for patrons in the event contact tracing is required, cleaning and disinfecting amenities, equipment and devices as is necessary to maintain sanitary conditions for patrons. Businesses and facilities able to reopen include:

  • Restaurants and bars are permitted to offer indoor dine-in service, provided that all patrons are seated when eating or drinking and that tables are separated by at least two metres or have plexiglass or other impermeable barriers separating them. City Council will be voting on additional measures recommended by Toronto Public Health today.
  • Sports facilities, subject to conditions that include team sports only be played without physical contact or modified to avoid physical contact and organized team sport leagues are limited to 50 players. The number of spectators attending sports facilities are limited to 50 spectators at an indoor facility and 100 spectators at an outdoor facility
  • Some recreational programs and services, including fitness, sports, and art and music classes
  • Recreational attractions and businesses (i.e. museums, zoos, arcades, bowling alleys, pool halls, some karaoke)
  • Live shows, performing arts and movie theatres together with a limit of no more than 50 people at an indoor cinema or performance venue and no more than 100 people at an outdoor cinema or performance venue. There is no attendance limit on the number of people who may attend a drive-in cinema
  • Personal service settings can now perform services tending to the face (i.e. facials, beard trims, eyelash extensions, etc.), subject to patrons continuing to wear a mask or face covering unless receiving services to the chin, mouth, or nose area
  • Tours and guide services subject to capacity limits of no more than 50 people for indoor tours and no more than 100 people for outdoor tours

The Province’s Stage 3 order sets capacity or occupant limits for businesses or facilities open to the public. Operators of businesses and facilities must limit the number of persons within the premises so that every member of the public is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person unless the specific type of business or facility has a reopening condition that allows persons to be closer together.

Businesses or services deemed high-risk by the Province are not yet permitted to open. High-risk businesses and activities include:

  • Nightclubs, except when serving patrons food or beverages and carrying on business in the same manner as a restaurant or bar
  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Private karaoke rooms, unless installed with a plexiglass or other impermeable barrier to separate the performer from every other person in the enclosed space
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments

Certain high-risk activities are also not permitted:

  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Team sports are not allowed to be practiced or played unless the sport has been modified to avoid physical contact between the players

Many programs put in place by the City during the pandemic will continue throughout Stage 3. ParksPlayTO will continue offering free drop-in and activity-based recreation programs to children at multiple locations across the city. Summer in the 6IX will continue to offer youth aged 13 and up opportunities to drop in, meet up with friends and participate in fun, themed activities.

Staff anticipate the continuation of ActiveTO road closures until at least the end of September, and possibly until demand falls due to cold weather. ActiveTO makes more room on neighbourhood streets and major roads so that people can maintain a physical distance while outside. It is a measured and data-driven approach to support essential trips, front-line workers and vulnerable road users. Quiet Streets – shared spaces designed to enable residents to maintain physical distancing within their communities as part of ActiveTO – is expected to remain in place until October or November. The ActiveTO expanded cycling network will be in place through the fall of 2021, after which staff will report to Council on the network’s future. The new bikeways support multimodal options for Stage 3 openings. Tweaks to the routes may be made as the situation evolves.

Under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, businesses and facilities that reopen to the public must continue to ensure, to the fullest extent possible, that customers and members of the public who visit the business or facility are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons. Under the City’s mask bylaw, all operators of indoor public spaces must post the required bylaw signage and have a mandatory mask or face covering policy requiring customers and employees to wear a mask while indoors. The bylaw includes exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other accommodations. The bylaw also permits the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity.

The City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team continues to enforce provincial orders and municipal bylaws. The team’s focus remains on providing individuals and businesses with education leading to compliance. Enforcement officers from Municipal Licensing & Standards, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Police Service, and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are working together to address businesses that, despite widespread efforts to educate them on public health requirements to keep their customers and the public safe, continue to disobey provincial orders. In parks and on beaches, enforcement continues for physical distancing as well as public consumption of alcohol, bonfires, and nonpermitted use of barbecues and hibachi grills.

COVID-19 remains a risk in our community and no service can resume or space reopen without the proper public health measures in place. Led by Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre, the City of Toronto has published a number of guidance documents for businesses and service providers to ensure they are operating with the safety of staff, customers, and the community as a priority. Businesses should locate and implement the guidance for their industry found online.

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.

The Province of Ontario’s reopening framework Opens in new window is available online.

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.

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