Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has “strongly” recommended bars and restaurants close their doors no later than midnight tonight, March 16, as Canada’s largest city continues to take drastic steps to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Dr. Eileen de Villa made the announcement Monday afternoon and said that take out and delivery services could still be offered.
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Additionally, Dr. de Villa said theatres, concert venues, and nightclubs should also consider closing and that bars and restaurants that go against this could end up facing a fine as high as $25k under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Dr. de Villa also reminded the public to “make every possible effort” to practice social distancing as she’s seen evidence of “community spread” of the coronavirus, which means the virus is spreading locally and without known links to where it originated from.
“This is a critical time to flatten the growth curve of COVID-19 in our community and Toronto Public Health, along with the City of Toronto, is committed to doing everything possible based on the expert advice of public health professionals to stop the spread of COVID-19,” reads a statement from the City.
Mayor John Tory said he supports Dr. de Villa’s recommendation for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theatres to close their in-house options and focus on delivery and takeout services.
“We are following the advice of our public health professionals to make sure we are doing everything possible to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and protect our residents and our city. I encourage all Toronto residents to practice social distancing as much as possible to protect their health and the health of their loved ones and neighbours,” said Tory.
This comes just days after the City announced it would be closing all public schools for two weeks after March Break and major attractions continue to close until further notice.