stage 3 reopening

Toronto asks province to implement additional restrictions to city’s stage 3 reopening plan

Toronto mayor John Tory is asking the province to put additional safeguards into effect for the Stage 3 reopening of bars and restaurants in the city.

In a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Tory provided six recommendations that he says would help protect Toronto from further spread of COVID-19, and would help ensure the city continues to safely reopen.

 

 

“We have seen in other jurisdictions that further reopening can lead to increased outbreaks of COVID-19 and growing case count numbers. We do not want to go in that direction,” Tory wrote in the letter, before sharing guidelines recommended by Toronto Public Health to determine the best way the city could strengthen provincial rules to help protect residents.

The city is requesting the following amendments be made in the stage 3 order for Toronto:

  • Patrons of food and drink establishments to be seated at all times unless entering or exiting, going to the restroom, or paying the bill. The present requirement applies only while people are eating or drinking.
  • Operators of food and drink establishments to keep a client log with a name and contact information for one person (minimum) in each party, along with the date, check-in and check-out times, and table number. Logs must be stored for 30 days. Public health units should have access to this information when tracing contacts of someone with COVD-19.
  • In addition to current capacity limits and food and drink establishments, additional capacity restrictions that limit occupancy should be implemented to ensure that physical distancing can be easily maintained by all patrons.
  • Implementing early closure times (e.g., midnight last call) for food and drink establishments for at least an initial period of time, similar to what has been done in Quebec.
  • Requiring food and drink establishments to implement COVID-19 screening protocols for staff (e.g., completion of screening questionnaires) prior to the commencement of their shifts.
  • Mandatory face-covering requirements for staff and patrons of food and drink establishments should be clearly outlined.

Tory said that health officials have established that food and drink establishments present a high risk of transmission of COVID-19, as all of the factors known to be associated with high risk are present (e.g., close and prolonged contact with many other people in a closed environment). While many of the recommended measures are already included in Toronto Public Health guidelines, they aren’t in the province’s legal regulation.

“I believe ensuring these are requirements rather than recommendations will help ensure compliance and ultimately, protect the health of our residents,” Tory said.

 

 

Meanwhile, according to reports, the following Ontario regions will enter Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan on July 24 at 12:01 a.m. – York Region, Durham Region, Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region, Haldimand-Norfolk, Lambton. Notably absent from the list are Toronto, Peel Region, and Windsor-Essex — the same regions that were last to move on to Stage 2.