Mayor John Tory told residents in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to avoid “region hopping” to curb the spread of COVID-19.
During a press conference on Monday, Tory said, “I encourage all residents to please stay home as much as possible and to avoid region hopping in any direction whatever the status is, and that will also help to shop local.”
He said he was pleased to see curbside pickup in effect along Bloor Street and Queen Street West this weekend.
“Never has it been easier to do this, to go online and make a purchase and support independent business. Around 40% make all of their sales for the whole year during holiday time,” Tory said.
Other mayors and chairs from the GTHA were in agreement with Tory, noting in a statement that even with different regions at various restriction stages, it’s best for residents to stay home and only go out for essential reasons like work or school, buying essentials, and exercise.
“The Mayors and Chairs asked people to think carefully about ‘region hopping’ regardless of the status of any given region with the main emphasis being to stay close to home and shop local,” the statement said.
The statement also noted that areas that are locked down have many small independent businesses with online shopping available, and curbside pickup is an option people are strongly urged to utilize to protect public health and support local business.
“Urging people to shop local must be part of a broader examination of ways in which we can help smaller businesses cope with the public health restrictions,” they said.
“It was also pointed out that these same small independent businesses are huge supporters of local causes and sports organizations and are a cornerstone of community stability in every part of the region.”
Currently, Toronto and Peel Region are in a lockdown, while York Region is in the Red-Control level.
Because of this, more businesses are open in regions like Vaughan compared to Toronto.
Over the weekend, Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre was charged by York Regional Police for failing to comply with COVID-19 health and safety orders.
Following Black Friday shopping, three stores in the outlet mall were found to be in violation of the Reopening Ontario Act.
The mayors and chairs noted that when staying within your region, shopping local supports smaller businesses and also prevents crowd scenes in malls.