Dear Friends and Neighbours,
City staff in the Emergency Operations Centre and all essential and critical services are working around-the-clock to respond to this crisis to keep us safe.
These are unprecedented times and I am continuing to receive multiple updates each day on the City's response and am committed to sharing this information with you. I have included the latest important information from the City below.
Right now, I can’t express enough how important it is to stay home, practise physical distancing, work from home where possible and only go out for essentials. These actions, which many of you are already doing, will help to protect you but also your family, friends and all those who work in essential services.
Thank you for everything that you’re doing to help stop the spread and please continue to urge others to do the same.
Here's the key information you need to know today:
1. To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government announced that they will order the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of today, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. The Province released a full list of essential workplaces that are permitted to stay open. The City is assessing the impact this will have on City services and encourages residents to visit the City’s website for the most up to date information on affected services: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/affected-city-services/
2. The City of Toronto has rapidly mobilized and implemented a plan in response to the risk COVID-19 presents to clients of the city’s network of shelters, respites, and drop-ins. The City has opened nine new facilities with more than 350 spaces to create further physical distancing for clients from shelters, 24-respites and 24-hour drop-ins. An additional facility is preparing to open with more space ready to be activated as needed. The City also has Canada’s first dedicated isolation site for people experiencing homelessness who are awaiting COVID-19 test results.
3. Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) will be flexible and work with market rent and rent-geared-to-income (RGI) tenants whose employment income has been impacted by COVID-19. For rent-geared-to-income households, TCHC will recalculate rent based on employment income changes owing to job loss or layoff incurred because of COVID-19. For market rent tenants whose income has been reduced as a result of a job loss or layoff because of the COVID-19 response, TCHC will consider various case-specific options to assist them.
4. Now that people are doing more cleaning and disinfecting at home including with disposable wipes, everyone is urged to not flush disposable wipes down the toilet. Pipes can easily become clogged by non-flushable items such as sanitizing wipes, baby wipes and paper towels. These can damage your plumbing and cause blockages in City sewer pipes -- which can lead to basement flooding. When sewer blockages occur, it takes City staff away from other critical services. Please protect Toronto’s sewer system. The only thing that should be flushed down a toilet is a limited amount of toilet paper. Throw used wipes in the garbage.
5. The City of Toronto will open licensed child care centres specifically to provide care for children of essential and critical service workers. Child care service will be available, at no cost, funded by the Province of Ontario, for children from infant to age 12, and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to begin to address the unique demands of people who work shifts to keep the city safe and healthy. The centres will be spread across Toronto in existing City-run child care facilities and be operated and staffed by City of Toronto licensed child care workers. This is the first time a service of this type has ever been offered by the City of Toronto. The City is working to quickly establish an online system to assess need. The centres will then open as quickly as possible.
6. For the health and safety of our communities, please remember the importance of physical distancing and minimizing contact between people. The best way for Torontonians to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home except to get essential supplies, practise physical distancing when outside the home, and self-isolate following travel or illness.