Toronto city council unanimously voted on Mayor John Tory’s request that the state of emergency measures be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, in the city’s first-ever virtual meeting, council passed Tory’s extension, which will ensure the municipal government can continue to respond quickly to the emergency, administer other necessary City business, plan for recovery and focus on protecting the health of all residents.
This also includes extending the new physical distancing emergency bylaws, to retain physical distancing regulations in parks and public squares for the duration of the COVID-19 municipal emergency, according to the City.
“I am proud of how the City has responded to this ongoing emergency,” said Tory in a statement.
“In responding to this emergency, we’ve seen the very best of public service, with staff working tirelessly to ensure residents remains safe and critical services continue during these uncertain times. I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents who have done the right and the responsible thing and helped us in this ongoing war to flatten the curve and defeat this virus. You have saved lives. And by continuing to do the right thing and stay home as much as possible, you are continuing to save lives during this emergency.”
It has been just over one month since Tory declared a State of Emergency in the Toronto.
At the time, there were 304 cases of COVID-19 in the city and most cases were traceable to travel or close contact with the virus.
As of Thursday afternoon, there are 5,551 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto.
Cases include 5,019 confirmed cases and 532 probable cases. There are 345 cases hospitalized, with 111 in intensive care units. To date, 366 people in Toronto have died from the virus.
In extending this declaration, the City said it strongly encourages residents to continue staying home as much as possible, keeping their distance from one another, protecting the vulnerable and reducing the impact our health care system.
During the meeting Tory said that the items being dealt with during the virtual gathering will help continue the city’s emergency response and the city’s business sector, in order to deliver essential and critical services that residents rely on.
“I am sad to say based on expert public health evidence, I believe it will be a while before we can gather together again in person as a Council though I am committed to making sure we have regular meetings to deal with urgent business as we will discuss today,” Tory said during the council meeting.
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Last week, Toronto’s health officials confirmed that Toronto’s general population is in the peak of coronavirus cases, but that physical distancing measures must remain in place for the near future.
“While we know the pandemic emergency itself continues and will likely continue for some time to come, we are making progress and we even have reason to have cautious optimism that we are slowing the spread of COVID-19, thanks largely to the physical distancing efforts of Toronto residents,” Tory said.