Mayor John Tory asked landlords to provide relief for tenants who cannot pay their rent, as the city’s total cases reach 339 residents.
On Thursday, the mayor said he spoke with landlords from across the city and asked them to provide plans to help tenants who have lost their jobs.
“Many companies pledged to help tenants who needed it, but many have not done enough,” Tory said during the city’s daily press conference.
He strongly urged all property owners to help relieve some of the anxieties tenants are facing with the looming April 1 pay date.
Tory also asked that all landlords effectively communicate to tenants of any new policies in place.
“I would be extremely disappointed if flexibility was not given to tenants,” he said.
The mayor also noted that Toronto community housing has been getting calls from scammers, who are claiming to help buy residents groceries, but asking for credit card and banking information on the call.
“This is despicable behaviour,” Tory said. He told all residents to be cautious of these calls and to be aware that anyone asking for this information is a scam.
While Toronto’s housing sector is figuring out how to handle the ongoing pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, more cases are being announced every day in the city.
According to Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa, there have been four deaths in the city with 22 cases in hospitals and 10 in ICU.
Of these cases, 25% come from community spread and so far, 13 individuals have recovered.
In Toronto, 10 long term care homes, one retirement home, 17 chronic care facilities and three reactivation centres have at least one staff and resident with coronavirus.
De Villa defined a coronavirus outbreak in long-term care, when two or more cases of infections are in the facility. Currently, there are three such outbreaks in Toronto.
“Spread in long term care is especially concerning as residents are especially vulnerable due to their age and compromised immune systems. We have enhanced cleaning, surveillance and monitoring in place to keep track of staff and residents,” de Villa said.
The Chief Medical Officer also told Toronto residents to fully practice physical distancing otherwise stronger measures will be implemented that could affect “our civil liberties.”
“Community means a lot to us, we enjoy civil liberties and freedoms. This is the core of what it means to be a Torontonian,” she said.
But if physical distancing is not adhered to, de Villa made it clear that harsher measures could be put in place.
Tory repeated her sentiments asking all residents to stay at home.
He also remarked that deliveries may be stopped if people do not follow the appropriate physical distancing measures. When a package is dropped off people must not greet anyone at the door and in apartments small group gatherings in hallways must cease.
Tory asked that residents remain hopeful and that the city will get through this difficult period if the advice of public health officials is adhered to.
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In addition, Tory announced more work on the city’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force which will be sending out a survey to all businesses in the city.
The survey will gather information on best practices the city can adopt to support businesses during the pandemic and how to rebuild the economy after this “incredible disruption.”
“We want to make sure the city is doing it can to make sure businesses can be back in business as soon as possible,” Tory said.
On Wednesday, The City of Toronto announced that it would be closing all parks and playground effective immediately as part of the continuing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Fines will be issued for anyone who tries to enter the now-gated public spaces, and fines can be as high as $5000, according to Chief Matthew Pegg.
On Monday, Mayor John Tory declared a state of emergency for Toronto.
According to the City, the declaration of a municipal emergency is part of the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus and will ensure the municipal government “can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.”