City council voted unanimously during its first-ever, virtual council meeting on Thursday to extend Toronto’s state of emergency declaration until the COVID-19 municipal emergency has ended.
The state of emergency was first declared in Toronto over a month ago on March 23 following the advice of the city’s medical officer of health and the Office of Emergency Management.
According to the City, the extension will ensure the municipal government can continue to respond quickly to the emergency, administer other necessary City business, plan for recovery, and focus on protecting the health of all residents.
This extension means the new physical distancing emergency bylaws to retain physical distancing regulations in parks and public squares will also be extended.
When the initial state of emergency was enacted, there were just 304 cases of COVID-19 in the city and most cases were traceable to travel or close contact with the virus. To date, there has now been 5,551 residents to test positive for the novel coronavirus, which includes 3,392 recoveries, and 366 deaths.
Mayor John Tory says he is proud of how the City has responded to the ongoing emergency.
“In the face of these challenges, great work has been done quickly by Dr. Eileen de Villa and her public health team, the emergency operations centre led by Chief Matthew Pegg, and staff across each city division, under the leadership of our City Manager Chris Murray,” said Mayor John Tory.
“In responding to this emergency, we’ve seen the very best of public service, with staff working tirelessly to ensure residents remain safe and critical services continue during these uncertain times. I want to thank the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents who have done the right and the responsible thing and helped us in this ongoing war to flatten the curve and defeat this virus. You have saved lives. And by continuing to do the right thing and stay home as much as possible, you are continuing to save lives during this emergency.”
In extending the state of emergency declaration, the City is strongly encouraging residents to continue staying home as much as possible, keeping their distance from one another, protecting the vulnerable, and reducing the impact on the health-care system.
And as we head into a beautiful sunshine-filled weekend, Mayor Tory wants residents to remember that the city’s “war on COVID-19 is not yet over.” “We must continue to follow public health advice and stay home if we want to get through this pandemic sooner rather than later.”
As we see the weather getting nicer, I continue to remind residents that our war on #COVID19 is not yet over. We must continue to follow public health advice and #StayHome if we want to get through this pandemic sooner rather than later. pic.twitter.com/GRa6nwWe2C
— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 1, 2020