UPDATE: Toronto will continue prohibiting indoor dining, other measures as COVID-19 cases increase

Closed sign on a store during the second wave of the pandemic

Indoor dining will continue to be prohibited in Toronto for another month, as one of several new measures implemented by the city's chief medical officer of health with COVID19 cases on the rise. 

"Admissions to hospital are rising slowly, but steadily. The trend is upward. The grave risk we currently face is evident," Dr. Eileen de Villa said Tuesday. "More action is required to protect the people of Toronto from the rampant spread of COVID-19." 

Along with indoor dining, other restrictions include closing casinos, bingo halls, meeting and event spaces for the same period, as well as extending the prohibition on indoor fitness classes (gyms themselves can reopen.) 

Gathering limits on religious services, weddings and funerals are limited to 30 per cent capacity indoors (with a maximum of 50 people.) 

Mayor John Tory called the strategy a "pre-emptive strike" to avoid a full lockdown. 

"I know she does not make these recommendations lightly and I don't support them lightly," he said. "That's not the news she or I wanted to convey to you."

"But we need to take these unprecedented actions in order to get this virus under control in our city and avoid things that could be much worse."

The measures come after another day of more than 500 new cases in the city. 

Dr. de Villa also urged people to be responsible with social gatherings, including recommendations to limit them to household members only, with one or two essential supports. 

Indoor dining and group classes were originally scheduled to potentially return this Saturday under the previous provincial three-stage framework. 

Despite cases increasing with indoor dining and group classes not being permitted anyway, Dr. de Villa said she's confident Torontonians will respond. 

"When the people of Toronto understand and appreciate the circumstances and are called upon to do what's best to protect themselves and the community, they do it," she said. 

For months, the city and province gave conflicting positions on whether or not the local chief medical officer of health had the powers to make such restrictions. 

The province claimed an officer could under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, whereas de Villa had previously said her legal guidance was that it was only the province that could. 

"The legal advice hasn't changed, the urgency has, so hence I'm taking these actions as we move forward into the next stage of the provincial framework," she said. 

The Toronto Board of Health later clarified that while it still believes it's the province that has the legal authority to implement restrictions, the city and de Villa are opening themselves up to possible appeals in order to put in the restrictions. 

Sector COVID-19 Response Framework: Red – Control Level Toronto Public Health – Specific Enhanced Measures
General Public Health Measures Gathering limit for all organized public events and social gatherings:

 

  • 10 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors

Gathering limit for religious services, weddings and funerals:

  • 30% capacity indoors
  • 100 people outdoors

Requirement for workplace screening

Requirement for face coverings at indoor workplaces

Requirement for face coverings in indoor public spaces, with limited exemptions

Worker protections such as eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers

Development and implementation of a communication/public education plan (highlighting risk)

Social Gatherings

  • Limit all social gatherings to household members only and/or 1 or 2 essential supports[1].
  • Restrict close contacts to household and
  • Eliminate visiting private homes, unless for emergency reasons, one-on-one teaching (e.g., tutoring), emergency repairs, renovations or construction;
  • Limit in-person activities outside the home to essential activities only;
  • Cancel or hold virtually all in-person activities that are discretionary.

Religious Services

Gathering limits for religious services, weddings and funerals:

  • 30% capacity indoors (to max. 50)

[1] Essential Supports: Persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health

General Public Health Measures

Cont’d

Advice to restrict non-essential travel from areas of high transmission to areas of low transmission

Workplaces

  • Require a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention & control measures.
  • Instruct businesses and/or facilities to review HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Promote work from home wherever possible.
Restaurants, Bars and Food or Drink Establishments
  • 10 person indoor capacity limit
  • Outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery permitted
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2m minimum between tables
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Require screening of patrons (e.g., questionnaire)
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Dancing, singing and the live performance of brass or wind instruments are prohibited
  • Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Require screening of patrons (e.g., questionnaire)
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Closure of strip clubs

Restaurants, Bars and Food or Drink Establishments

  • Indoor dining closed
Sports and Recreational Fitness
  • Gyms and fitness studios permitted to be open:
  • 10 people indoors (classes)
  • 25 people outdoors (classes)
  • 10 people indoors (areas with weights or exercise equipment)
  • All sports and recreational programs (including amateur and professional dance) in other facilities (arenas and multiplexes) limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors.
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training (no games or scrimmage).
  • No contact permitted for team or individual sports.
  • Require screening of patrons, including spectators (e.g., questionnaire)
  • Limit duration of stay (e.g. 60 minutes); exemption for sports
  • No spectators permitted (exemption for parent/guardian supervision of children)
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., conversation level)/require use of microphone for instructor where needed to avoid shouting
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Face coverings required except when exercising
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3m for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights/weight machines and exercise/fitness classes

Gyms and Fitness Studios

  • Indoor group fitness classes closed
Meeting and Event Spaces
  • 10 people per facility indoors
  • 25 people outdoors
  • Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Require screening of patrons (e.g., questionnaire)
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Safety plan available upon request

Meeting and Event Spaces

  • Meeting and event spaces to be closed.
Retail
  • Interior dining spaces closed (tables/seating in food courts) in shopping malls.
  • For consideration during winter holiday season:
  • Limit capacity in retail stores and in shopping malls
  • Require screening of patrons at mall entrances (e.g., questionnaire) For consideration during winter:
  • Limit capacity in retail stores and in shopping malls
  • Fitting rooms must be limited to nonadjacent stalls • Line-ups/patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2m distance and face covering required
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • For malls – safety plan available upon request
  • Require screening of patrons at mall entrances (e.g., questionnaire)

Malls

  • Prohibit consumption of food or drink while walking through malls
Personal Care Services
  • Services requiring removal of face coverings prohibited
  • Require screening of patrons (e.g., questionnaire
  • Change rooms & showers closed
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools closed
  • Bath houses, other adult venues, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions)
N/A
Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments
  • 10 people per facility indoors
  • 25 people outdoors
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Require screening of patrons (e.g., questionnaire)
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Table games are prohibited.
  • OR casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments

  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed
Cinemas Closed, except for:

 

  • Drive-in cinemas
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event remains permitted
  • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request

Cinemas

  • Closed, except for drive in cinemas with appropriate Infection Prevention and Control measures in place.
Performing Arts Facilities
  • Closed to spectators
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event remains permitted
  • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
  • Safety plan available upon request
N/A