The City of Toronto is preparing to oversee the safe restart of more businesses and services following today’s Province of Ontario announcement that Toronto can enter Stage 3 of the provincial reopening this Friday, July 31.
On July 13, the Province announced the implementation of Stage 3 of their “Reopening Ontario” framework for certain regions of Ontario that did not include the City of Toronto. Under the Stage 3 order and regulation made under the 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. With today’s announcement, Toronto will now move to Stage 3 later this week, five weeks after entering Stage 2.
As part of the Stage 3 reopening, as of Friday, July 31, Toronto residents are allowed to participate in expanded social gatherings and organized public events. Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now permitted. These gatherings remain subject to compliance with provincial physical distancing requirements of a two-metre distance from anyone outside your household or 10-person social circle. The City’s bylaws on physical distancing in City parks and squares remains in effect, as does the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw for indoor public spaces.
A number of City facilities and amenities will reopen in Stage 3, including the City’s more than 800 playgrounds and play structures, community and recreation centres, and libraries for all on-site services. City staff are now preparing for these additional openings, including inspecting and readying playgrounds and play structures. Following guidance from Toronto Public Health, outdoor playground equipment will not be sanitized. Updated signage with public health guidance will be posted.
Toronto Public Health encourages children to enjoy physical activity and play outdoors. Playing outside is fun, exciting, and important for healthy child development. Parents and guardians can help children stay safe from COVID-19 at playgrounds by:
If a playground is busy, Toronto Public Health recommends finding another park or going back later. Toronto Public Health has created guidelines for parents and guardians to help children play safely at reopened playgrounds.
Under the Province’s Stage 3 order, many businesses and facilities are able to reopen, subject to compliance with reopening conditions and implementing mandatory public health measures, including maintaining contact information for patrons in the event contact tracing is required, cleaning and disinfecting amenities, equipment and devices as is necessary to maintain sanitary conditions for patrons. Businesses and facilities able to reopen include:
The Province’s Stage 3 order sets capacity or occupant limits for businesses or facilities open to the public. Operators of businesses and facilities must limit the number of persons within the premises so that every member of the public is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person unless the specific type of business or facility has a reopening condition that allows persons to be closer together.
Businesses or services deemed high-risk by the Province are not yet permitted to open. High-risk businesses and activities include:
Certain high-risk activities are also not permitted:
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.
Staff anticipate the continuation of ActiveTO road closures until at least the end of September, and possibly until demand falls due to cold weather. ActiveTO makes more room on neighbourhood streets and major roads so that people can maintain a physical distance while outside. It is a measured and data-driven approach to support essential trips, front-line workers and vulnerable road users. 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 will be in place through the fall of 2021, after which staff will report to Council on the network’s future. The new bikeways support multimodal options for Stage 3 openings. Tweaks to the routes may be made as the situation evolves.
Under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, businesses and facilities that reopen to the public must continue to ensure, to the fullest extent possible, 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 other persons. 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 nonpermitted 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. Led by Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre, 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. Businesses should locate and implement the guidance for their industry found online.
Residents can learn about what to expect and what is required as Toronto moves into the new normal and they begin to visit more establishments and take part in more activities at toronto.ca/ReopenTO.
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/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
“We are moving forward into Stage 3 thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of Toronto residents, especially our frontline workers, and businesses. Public health officials have made it clear that we can move forward but we must continue to be vigilant – COVID-19 doesn’t’ go away in Stage 3. We all must continue to follow public health advice to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbours, and our city. The City of Toronto will continue to be guided by our public health experts and make sure we are doing everything possible to stop the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and continue our restart and recovery. ”
– 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. I know we are all looking forward to moving forward with reopening our city, however, the reality is this virus is still here and we need everyone to stay focused on stopping its spread. This is why I strongly urge everyone to keep following public health measures that are still needed to keep us as safe as possible as we move forward.”
– 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.