Doug Ford stage 2

Ontario ending indoor dining and other business in Toronto as new COVID-19 cases skyrocket

As of Friday, Ontario reported 939 new cases of COVID-19, a record high daily number of new cases for the province.  Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa accounted for the majority of the province’s daily figures, with 336 cases, 150 cases, and 126 cases, respectively.

In an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto, effective Tuesday, Oct. 13, the city is announcing the following recreation programs and services — deemed high-risk for COVID-19 transmission due to being indoors (where the activities result in close contact and where masks cannot be worn) — will be suspended:

  • Registered and instructional programs, including learn to skate and swim programs, dance, group fitness, and wellness programs
  • Hockey games and scrimmages
  • Drop-in sports programs (other than leisure and lane swim and leisure skate)
  • Table tennis, billiards, foosball
  • Access to the city’s two conservatories
  • Indoor permits for social gatherings and sports games/group fitness

The suspension of registered and instructional programs will impact approximately 20,000 registrants, but city staff are working to adapt recreational activities that could be offered outdoors where possible.

“I know that the suspension of these indoor recreation programs will be frustrating for those who were looking forward to these activities. I have asked city staff to work towards developing supplementary outdoor activities that people can take part in safety this fall and winter,” Toronto mayor John Tory said in a statement released Friday morning.

 

 

Programs that have capacity restrictions and other health measures in place will continue as usual, including leisure swim and skate, lane swimming, fitness centres, arts and general interest instruction, after-school recreation care, December camps for children, drop-in youth programs that do not include sports, indoor athletic training permits with no game play, including hockey training, and permits for outdoor sports.

The city’s outdoor amenities in parks and green spaces (e.g., sports fields, skate parks, trails, BMX parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, outdoor fitness equipment, picnic shelters and playgrounds) will remain open.

Resumption of indoor recreational programs will be made in consultation with Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health.

Earlier this month, de Villa reconfirmed the need for enhanced public health measures, including the recommendation that all indoor group classes in gyms be discontinued.

She also recommended restricting individuals from dining indoors, advised that individuals only leave their homes for essential activities, and recommended that large venues be required to submit a plan to Toronto Public Health demonstrating how they would comply with public health measures.

The uptick of COVID cases has led Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet to hold an emergency meeting Friday morning to discuss stricter public health measures.

 

 

The updated measures presented to cabinet on Friday will include recommendations to close indoor dining in restaurants, food courts, bars, and nightclubs, as well as the closure of cinemas, casinos and gyms/fitness centres, likely in COVID hot spots (Toronto, Ottawa, Peel).

 

 

Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference to discuss these measures at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Click here for the most up-to-date COVID-19 news.