Over the long weekend, the City of Toronto enforcement team including Bylaw Enforcement, Toronto Public Health and the Toronto Police Service worked to enforce measures to help keep people safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
As of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, October 10, new regulations from the Province of Ontario came into effect under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. These new measures that apply to the City of Toronto set social gathering and organized public event limits at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, prohibit indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, limit capacity for certain activities, prohibit games and scrimmages for sports teams and more. The new regulations will be in place for at least 28 days.
Over the weekend, City enforcement teams proactively conducted compliance checks on establishments across the city focusing on heavily populated areas such as Queen Street East, Queen Street West, College Street, King Street West, Yonge Street, Wellington Street, Bloor Street West and Danforth Avenue, and establishments that historically have been non-compliant.
Toronto Public Health conducted 46 inspections at establishments including restaurants and bars, shopping malls and hookah establishments, and issued 16 warning letters and laid two charges for non-compliance with the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA). Bylaw officers and the Toronto Police Service issued four charges to a restaurant and bar establishment for non-compliance with the ROA for exceeding the limit of people who can be at one table (six), not ensuring physical distancing, not ensuring customers are seated, and exceeding venue capacity.
The City received 30 complaints for large gatherings with reports of the gatherings ranging from more than ten people to upwards of 60 people. From these complaints, 11 warning letters and two charges were issued. The fine amounts for violating the ROA ranges from $750 to $100,000, including up to one year in jail, and $10,000,000 for a corporation.
More than 80 bonfires were extinguished around the Etobicoke waterfront parks and eight tickets were issued. Bonfires are becoming an increasing cause for concern and enforcement of this bylaw, which comes with a $300 fine, will continue.
Complaints about gatherings and other COVID-19-related orders should be submitted to the City via 311.
A complaint by the public that a law or bylaw is being contravened must be investigated and confirmed by an enforcement officer before a charge can be laid. Once investigated, enforcement officers have the discretion to lay a charge or issue a notice to ensure compliance in the future.
All people in Toronto should adopt steps for self-protection. Individuals should only consider leaving their homes for essential activities such as work, education and fitness. As much as possible, residents are asked to limit contact with people not in the same household, keep at least six feet apart from people not in the same household and wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult. Residents should wash hands frequently and remain at home when ill. Toronto Public Health also encourages residents to download the COVID Alert app, which can help to notify individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 in the community.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
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