Today, the City of Toronto entered Stage 3 of the provincial reopening, allowing for the safe restart of more businesses and services including playgrounds, additional recreational programs, indoor restaurant dining, gyms and sports facilities with certain restrictions in place.
Under the Stage 3 order and regulation made under the Province’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen, with workplace safety and public health measures in place.
While Toronto enters Stage 3 today, residents are reminded to continue adhering to Toronto Public Health’s advice to practise physical distancing, stay within their social circle of no more than 10 people, wash hands often, and wear a mask or face covering where mandatory or when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Wearing a mask or face covering is required in indoor public spaces in Toronto. Beginning August 5, masks will be required in enclosed common spaces, including lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms, in condominiums and apartment buildings. The bylaw exempts those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other accommodations.
The city’s more than 800 playgrounds and play structures are open now. City staff will be visiting all playgrounds over the coming days to post updated signage with public health guidance. Outdoor playground equipment will not be sanitized. Toronto Public Health encourages children to play outdoors with caregiver guidelines to help children play safely. The guidelines include proper hand hygiene for children before and after using the playground, physical distancing, a mask or face covering for children over the age of two if physical distancing is not possible, and monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19. If a playground is busy, Toronto Public Health recommends finding another park or coming back later. The full guidelines document for parents and guardians can be found on the City’s website.
Community recreation and libraries
A number of City facilities and amenities will reopen in Stage 3 including additional recreational programs and services at community centres, which will resume in multiple phases beginning mid-August. Instructor and staff-led programs and activities such as fitness classes, drop-in sports and aqua-fitness programs are expected to begin in September. There are currently 119 community centres, including 29 indoor pools, operating with limited activities, as well as ongoing CampTO programming for children that will end on September 4.
Many programs put in place by the City during the pandemic will continue throughout Stage 3. ParksPlayTO will continue offering free drop-in and activity-based recreation programs to children at multiple locations across the city. Summer in the 6IX will continue to offer youth aged 13 and up opportunities to drop in, meet up with friends and participate in fun, themed activities.
Beginning mid-August, Toronto Public Library will begin to gradually resume adapted in-branch services in multiple phases, with relevant health and safety measures in place.
ActiveTO road closures are expected to continue until at least the end of September. Quiet Streets – shared spaces designed to enable residents to maintain physical distancing within their communities as part of ActiveTO – is expected to remain in place until October or November. The ActiveTO expanded cycling network supports multimodal commuting options for Stage 3 and will be in place through the fall of 2021, after which staff will report to Council on the network’s future.
Businesses and facilities that can reopen
Under the Province’s Stage 3 order, many businesses and facilities are able to reopen, under specific conditions and with mandatory public health measures:
Operators must limit the number of people in the premises so that every member of the public is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others, unless the specific type of business or facility has a reopening condition that allows people to be closer together.
As of today, Toronto residents are allowed to participate in indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people, with continued physical distancing requirements of two metre/six feet distance from anyone outside your household or 10-person social circle. The City’s bylaws on physical distancing in City parks and squares and the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw for indoor public spaces remain in effect.
Some services are not reopening
Businesses or services deemed high-risk by the Province are not yet permitted to open, including:
Certain high-risk activities are also not permitted:
Under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, businesses and facilities that reopen to the public must continue to ensure that customers and members of the public who visit the business or facility are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others. Under the City’s mask bylaw, all operators of indoor public spaces must post the required bylaw signage and have a mandatory mask or face covering policy requiring customers and employees to wear a mask while indoors. The bylaw includes exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other accommodations. The bylaw also permits the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity.
The City’s COVID-19 Enforcement Team continues to enforce provincial orders and municipal bylaws. The team’s focus remains on providing individuals and businesses with education leading to compliance. Enforcement officers from Municipal Licensing & Standards, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Police Service, and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario are working together to address businesses that, despite widespread efforts to educate them on public health requirements to keep their customers and the public safe, continue to disobey provincial orders. In parks and on beaches, enforcement continues for physical distancing as well as public consumption of alcohol, bonfires, and non-permitted use of barbecues and hibachi grills.
COVID-19 remains a risk in our community and no service can resume or space reopen without the proper public health measures in place. The City of Toronto has published a number of guidance documents for businesses and service providers to ensure they are operating with the safety of staff, customers, and the community as a priority. Resources to help Toronto businesses reopen safely, including sector-specific guidelines created by Toronto Public Health, are available on the City’s website. Printable screening posters and checklists for businesses are also available to download.
Residents can visit toronto.ca/ReopenTO to learn more about what to expect and what is required to keep themselves and others safe as Toronto moves into Stage 3, and more establishments and public spaces open, and as people take part in more activities.
The Province of Ontario’s reopening framework is available online.
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/home/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
“Today, we are moving into Stage 3 thanks to the sacrifices of our residents and businesses. Thanks to you and your commitment to diligently following public health advice, we have made progress stopping the spread of COVID-19. While the number of new cases is falling, COVID-19 is still here. I urge you to enjoy this new-found freedom responsibly and continue to follow public health guidance. We are moving towards a better place and finding a way to return more to the lives we knew before this crisis began. But we can only get there and stay there if we all work together to keep each other safe.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Today is a significant day for us. Together, we have been protecting our friends and our loved ones, and we have made sure that our healthcare system is available for those who need it. This means that we will get a bit more of our city back today. However, as I have stated before, COVID-19 is still here. We need to stay focused to prevent new cases or a spike in activity as much as we can. This is why I strongly urge everyone to please keep washing your hands, watching your distance, wearing your mask and taking care of each other, so we can continue moving forward as safely as possible as we live with COVID-19.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health
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 the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.