Toronto’s top doctor says she recommends City Council to continue its face mask bylaw as the province heads into Step 3 of reopening this week.
While Dr. Eileen de Villa is recommending the continuation of one bylaw, she said she is asking the council to repeal others that were implemented earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This Friday, we enter Stage 3 of reopening, so to be consistent with the province’s direction, I am recommending that Toronto City Council, during its current meeting, repeal two of the bylaws put in place as part of the COVID-19 response in Toronto,” said de Villa during a press briefing on Wednesday.
The bylaws being repealed include the one preventing indoor dining and requirements for physical distancing between people in parks and public squares.
“I am recommending to council that for the time being the current mask bylaw requiring mask wearing in indoor public spaces,” added de Villa.
“And the bylaw on certain requirements in shared spaces at apartments and condominiums continue.”
Those bylaws also require masking indoors.
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In Step 3, Toronto residents will be permitted, subject to restrictions, to gather indoors, eat indoors at bars and restaurants, and resume going to gyms and recreation centres.
According to the City of Toronto, effective Monday, July 19, it will reopen indoor recreational facilities, starting with most self-directed programs and services.
Recreational amenities scheduled to begin reopening in Step 3 include:
Monday, July 19
• Indoor fitness centres
• Indoor weight rooms
• Indoor permits for meetings and events
• Indoor walking tracks
• Public access to community centre spaces for heat relief, washroom and shower access
Wednesday, July 21
• Indoor lane and leisure swim
• Indoor drop-in programs for sports and leisure
Monday, July 26
• Enhanced Youth Spaces
• Indoor aquafit classes
• Indoor fitness classes
• Seniors’ centres
As of Friday, the capacity limit of 50% applies to all indoor spaces, and physical distancing must be maintained. The City states that masks are required in indoor and common spaces but may be removed during physical activity.
Additionally, change rooms and clubhouses may reopen at 50% capacity.
“I am looking forward to Friday for all of us,” said de Villa. “Although in the excitement, I want to urge you to not confuse the coming changes and increased choices with a green light to forget the last 18 months.”
“The virus is still here, even as we move in the right direction.”