Toronto closing major city services amid coronavirus pandemic

Mar 13 2020, 2:35 pm

The City of Toronto announced it would be shutting down major services as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in a press conference on Friday night.

Effective March 14 until April 5, all licensed childcare centres will be closed and there will be cancellation of March Break camps.

According to Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, children have little or no symptoms of coronavirus, making it difficult to track the transmission of the virus.

In addition, community and recreation centres, public arenas, ski hills, fitness centres, libraries, museums and galleries will be closed.

Also, council and committee meetings will not be held during the next cycle.

Some vital services will still be operating in the city like the TTC, police services, fire services and paramedics.

Toronto Water Operations will also continue to run to provide clean drinking water and waste water collection and treatment. Garbage and recycling collection will continue as well.

De Villa also mentioned that long term care homes will stay open, but will now have strict visitation screening.

De Villa also made a new recommendation for anyone travelling outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days after they return.

“We have seen an escalation in travel related cases in the city,” de Villa said. “We need to reduce the risk of spread in peoples households and mitigate the impact of this virus to protect the health of our residents.”

“These measures will result in significant adjustments to the regular routines and we are not making these recommendations lightly,” she said. “We are calling on the public and Toronto Public Health to rise to the challenge and delay the spread of this virus”

The city’s announcement also said that residents can continue taking the TTC.

“We take the health and safety of our employees and customers very seriously. At this time, Toronto Public Health advises that riding public transit poses low risk for exposure to Covid-19 and no change in travel habits is recommended for healthy individuals,” reads a statement on the TTC’s website.

“While we are expecting reduced ridership given March break and the two-week school shut down, this is a dynamic situation and we will continue to consult with public health officials and advise our customers of any new or changing advice for travel on the TTC.”

Earlier this week, the province announced all schools in Ontario would close for two weeks after the March Break and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation for “immediate suspension” of all large events and public gatherings of 250 people.