Extending Toronto's lockdown could prevent another one before patios reopen: Tory

Feb 18 2021, 8:15 am

Extending Toronto’s current COVID-19 closures could prevent a third lockdown just as the city’s patios would reopen, Mayor John Tory said.

At a press conference on February 17, Tory said he supported Dr. Eileen de Villa’s calls to keep the city shut down in order to assess the emerging COVID-19 variants.

“The worst mistake we could make right now is to ignore the advice of our medical experts and begin to reopen too quickly,” the mayor said.

“We absolutely do not want to find ourselves opening things up, even slightly, and then having to close down again just a few weeks from now.”

A slower reopening would be the “right thing to do,” Tory said, noting that it would prevent a third wave of COVID-19 that could force a shutdown in early May as the weather warms and the CaféTO program resumes.

The city has begun accepting applications for the program and, depending on public health orders, the first CaféTO locations could be open by early May, two months earlier than in 2020.

“We all would want to have our fingers crossed that we do the right thing that the doctor has recommended in terms of being prudent about reopening and it will still allow us to actually have CaféTO patios open, and not be in another lockdown by then,” Tory said.

“[That] is precisely what we’re trying to avoid, is having an opening and then be back in a lockdown right at the time when those patios will be opening in May.”

Toronto’s Stay at Home order is set to expire on February 22, at which point the city will transition back into Ontario’s updated reopening framework.

De Villa has asked Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to delay Toronto’s return to the colour-coded system until at least March 9 as virus variants spread across the city.

“With the promise of vaccinations upon us, we need to ensure that this lockdown that we’re presently in is the last one,” Tory said.

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