"Enhanced suite of measures" to be announced for Toronto as COVID-19 cases spike

City Hall

While they didn't want to give away any specifics, Toronto's mayor and chief medical officer of health signalled Tuesday would be a newsworthy day for residents and businesses, as the trend of new COVID-19 cases goes continues higher. 

"An enhanced suite of measures is likely needed to arrest the spread of the virus," Mayor John Tory said. "We will have more to say on all of this tomorrow, but what you can expect is strong, responsible action." 

Staff from various city departments consulted throughout the weekend and Monday, with talks scheduled to continue Monday evening, ahead of what new measures are coming to the city tomorrow. 

The notice comes as Toronto reported over 500 new cases Monday, the latest in a trend that Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa called the most concerning she's seen since the start of the pandemic. 

"500 confirmed cases in one day is not a number that can be ignored or rationalized," she said, adding she fears the perception that these are numbers are to be expected and normalized.

This upcoming Saturday was the day many business owners had been looking forward to, as the possible day indoor dining and gyms could return. 

But when asked if they would in some sort of capacity, Tory and de Villa could not say. 

"We're not trying to today not answer the question, we're simply saying that we're working on coming to the right answer," Tory said, adding conversations also continue with the province on what to do next. 

A month ago, the city had asked for more time than Peel, York and Ottawa before moving out of its modified Stage 2, where indoor dining and gyms were restricted. 

But Tory added because of the province's new coloured-zone restriction framework, that old format basically ceases to exist. 

On Friday, Peel Region was moved into the Red Zone

Tory and de Villa once again pleaded with the public to follow the standard public health guidelines, but when asked if new measures would include changes to social gatherings, the mayor said rules are only so effective. 

"In some respects, it almost doesn't matter what decision comes out in terms of what law or what order or what regulation," he said. "It's human behaviour that has to change, people deciding this is a very serious matter which it is and deciding they're going to help us."