Dear Friends and Neighbours,
I continue to get reports of increased litter across York South—Weston. I urge residents to please properly dispose of garbage and recycling in appropriate bins. It is also alarming that there is an increase of discarded gloves and face masks on streets and sidewalks. This could create a potential health hazard and these items must be properly disposed of. I encourage everyone to be considerate of each other and avoid littering.
I'm hearing repeatedly from local businesses that they are struggling to survive this challenging time. The BusinessTO Support Centre has just been launched to help businesses apply for government support programs. More about this is included below.
In the meantime, we anxiously await news from the federal government on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance. Rent is one of the main concerns I am hearing from business owners, and this relief is more than needed.
I know these are stressful times but I am heartened by the efforts of everyone to fight this pandemic. I am confident we will get through this thanks to everyone wholeheartedly following the advice from our public health professionals.
The Toronto Public Library has made access to their online catalogue possible even if you don’t have a library card. All you need to sign up is a Toronto phone number. Click this link to find out more.
City launches BusinessTO Support Centre to help businesses during COVID-19 pandemic
Today, the City launched the BusinessTO Support Centre to provide virtual one-on-one support to Toronto businesses during this unprecedented time.
BusinessTO Support Centre is now available for all sectors, including not-for-profit, creative/cultural, manufacturing, technology, retail, hospitality, tourism, main street businesses and consulting services. The centre will help businesses apply for government support programs, offer a weekly webinar series to provide information about available government programs and offer general business advice. Businesses can sign up to schedule a conversation with a business advisor by video or phone, and a business advisor will be in contact within 24 hours. The BusinessTO Support Centre is available at toronto.ca/covid19BusinessTO.
Today is Earth Day
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Typically, it’s a day where individuals and companies around the world take steps to clean up the environment, conserve energy and recycle. Although the activities we normally see taking place are not possible this year, you can still help the environment even without community clean-ups. Some ideas on safely celebrating Earth Day this year:
· Turn off all electronic devices not being used to help reduce energy usage at home.
· Experience nature by taking a walk, while maintaining physical distancing.
· Reduce food waste by using up what’s already in your fridge.
· Lower your thermostat by a degree.
Visit earthday.org, where they’ve taken Earth Day digital for the first time in their history. For more tips, check out Earth Day Canada’s 2020 campaign encouraging Canadians to take simple yet positive action for the environment as part of their daily lives.
High Park cherry blossoms going virtual during park closure
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto will make the High Park cherry blossoms available online during the upcoming park closure. The blossoms typically last between four and 10 days, depending on weather, with peak bloom period typically from late April to early May. This year, High Park will be closed during the pre-bloom and peak bloom period of the cherry blossom trees, as maintaining proper physical distancing will not be possible. The City will offer a virtual walk-through of the blossoming trees instead with multiple livestream events and videos. The park closure dates are weather-dependent and will be announced when the bloom period is determined. In addition, the cherry blossoms area at Trinity Bellwoods Park will be enclosed by fencing. City bylaw officers and the Toronto Police Service will ensure residents are complying with the closures and may patrol other smaller sites of cherry blossoms in Toronto.
What can you do in a park?
At this time, the park is not meant to be a destination like it used to be. People can walk/run there, get some exercise and then keep moving. While the City will no longer be issuing tickets to people simply because they are using park benches, these benches are not destinations to congregate. Tickets will be issued to those who are not following public health direction and provincial orders on social and public gatherings of more than five people, and the City’s physical distancing bylaw, including to those who are using park benches. Benches are not sanitized. People may unknowingly spread the virus by sneezing or touching the bench. For more information visit the City’s website or see the attached updated fact sheet.
Update on enforcement activity
Enforcement of the City's physical distancing bylaw and the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act orders is ongoing. Yesterday, the City received 408 complaints involving people using outdoor amenities or not practising physical distancing in parks. Bylaw and police officers issued four tickets – bringing the total number of tickets issued since April 3 to 472. Bylaw and police officers have spoken to nearly 10,500 people in City parks about the closures and public health measures. The City also received 57 complaints yesterday related to non-essential businesses remaining open in contravention of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Since March 24, Municipal Licensing & Standards and Toronto Public Health have issued 53 tickets and 131 notices to non-essential businesses.
Tomorrow: Virtual commemoration of the second anniversary of the Yonge Street Tragedy
This year’s commemoration will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consideration for public health and safety. In remembrance of the people who lost their lives, survivors and all those impacted by the tragedy, the City will live stream a statement by Mayor John Tory at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 23. In the evening, here will be a virtual vigil led by community groups, We Love Willowdale and Willowdale Interfaith Coalition. More information is on the City’s website.
Nova Scotia Virtual Book of Condolences
On April 19, Nova Scotia experienced an unimaginable tragedy, in already difficult times. Nova Scotia government has now established a virtual book of condolences for you to share your condolences online and on social media.