Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the recent provincial emergency order to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, the City of Toronto will cancel all City-led major mass participation events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs, and all City permits for major mass participation events organized by external groups at civic centres and squares, parks, public spaces (including road closures), City-operated museums and cultural centres through June 30.
The decision to cancel City-led events and third-party permits has been made in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, the Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Police Service, Mayor John Tory’s office and major event organizers, and supports the directive that physical distancing is critical to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The breadth of the COVID-19 crisis and the City’s need to ensure the sustainability of essential services also limits the City’s ability to provide the usual level of support to third-party event organizers to ensure public safety.
The City’s decision provides clear direction to event organizers to enable them to make sound decisions in support of public health efforts and their business needs, access insurance, support impacted employees and manage sponsors.
The City urges event organizers to follow Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health’s recommendations of physical distancing as a way to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community when reviewing their event plans for the upcoming months and make prudent decisions about cancellations. Physical distancing means limiting the number of people a person comes into close contact with, including keeping two metres (six feet) apart from others, avoiding mass gatherings and avoiding crowds.
The end date for the cancellation period will be reviewed every two weeks following the initial announcement and may be extended beyond June 30 in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and in consideration of the provincial prohibition of organized public events and social gatherings.
The City of Toronto will not be in a position to issue new permits until there is further direction on mass gatherings from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. The City is committed to working with event organizers to mitigate the impacts of these cancellations and to determine potential future dates once the public health crisis is contained and economic recovery efforts are underway. Among the major events impacted by today’s announcement are Doors Open Toronto, Indigenous Arts Festival, Pride Toronto, and NXNE Music and Gaming festival.
Event organizers are encouraged to contact the relevant permitting bodies at the City or Toronto Police Service officers/liaisons they have been working with. Alternatively, event organizers can contact the City at email@example.com.
Mayor Tory also announced today that City of Toronto facilities will continue to be closed until further notice, including non-emergency city child care facilities in schools. All regular Council and Committee meetings are cancelled until May 4. City-operated programs also remain suspended. Frontline emergency and critical services continue to be delivered.
This is based on recommendations from Toronto Public Health to help slow the rate of COVID-19 infection in Toronto.
More information about the City’s response to COVID-19 is available at https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/.
“While the City recognizes the importance of special events and festivals to the livability and vitality of the city, protecting the health and safety of residents is of primary concern. City staff are working closely with event organizers to help mitigate the impacts of cancellations wherever possible and we look forward to Toronto’s festivals and events being featured prominently as part of the city’s recovery from the impact of COVID-19.”
– Mayor John Tory
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit http://www.toronto.ca or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CityofToronto, on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cityofto.