Toronto advises restaurants, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours to prepare for reopening
Meanwhile, public libraries to start curbside pickup, more ActiveTO closures this weekend
The City of Toronto says it is providing guidelines that will advise two large sectors — restaurants and personal-care services — on how to prepare for a "safe" reopening once provincial orders are lifted.
Those personal-care services include hair salons, barbers, tattoo parlours, nail salons and "aesthetic services," the city said in a news release, adding that there are 3,500 businesses that fall under this category in Toronto alone.
The city said it will also help Toronto's 8,000 restaurants "safely" reopen for indoor and outdoor dining. There's currently no timeline for when this might happen.
This comes after Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Thursday that restaurants and bars will be allowed to expand their patios — increasing the number of tables outside — once establishments are given the green light to open for more than takeout and delivery.
"Restaurants and personal-service settings are key parts of our economy that I am eager to see reopen as soon as safely possible," Tory said in the release.
"I hope these guidelines will help businesses as they prepare to reopen," Tory said. Those health guidelines include enhanced physical distancing, cleaning measures and staff training to keep customers and employees safe.
Tory says city staff will be communicating with these businesses over the next week, either individually or through local BIAs, to "ensure that the resumption of service can happen as quickly as possible once the provincial orders are lifted."
Short-term rentals begin operating again
The province continues to loosen restrictions that will likely have a major effect on the city, for example its move Thursday to allow short-term rentals to begin operating again.
In a release issued Friday, the city reminded Torontonians that short-term rentals must continue to comply with city bylaws:
- People can host short-term rentals in their principal residence only — both homeowners and tenants can participate.
- Short-term rentals (any rental that is for a period of less than 28 consecutive days) are permitted across the city in all housing types in residential zones and the residential component of mixed-use zones.
- People who live in secondary suites and laneway suites can also participate, as long as the secondary suite/laneway suite is their principal residence.
- Short-term rental companies will be required to be licensed with the City of Toronto in order to carry on business.
- Short-term rental operators (people renting their homes on a short-term basis) will be required to register with the City of Toronto.
"Public health and safety remains of utmost importance," Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, the manager of the city's emergency response, said at the news conference Friday.
"There must be no parties, no gatherings of groups over five people anywhere," Pegg warned.
"Please be respectful of neighbours and be mindful of the communities where you may be renting short-term," he added.
City reports 198 new cases
The City of Toronto continues to be hit hard by COVID-19, with staff confirming 198 new cases as of Friday.
Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets of downtown Toronto Friday to protest against anti-black racism — you can read more about that here.
It's unclear how large demonstrations will affect the spread of the novel coronavirus in the city — people can be infected but symptoms may not show up for 14 days. Here's a look at the latest data from Toronto Public Health:
- Toronto has had 12,033 total cases — with 9,304 people having recovered.
- About 352 people are still hospitalized, and 86 of those patients are in intensive care units.
- There have now been 890 deaths linked to COVID-19.
- The city's northwest and northeast continue to report the most cases, though COVID-19 cases can be found in every neighbourhood.
On Thursday, CBC News reported that some 2,000 cases in Toronto can't be tracked due to issues with data collection at testing labs.
Ontario, meanwhile, released its latest COVID-19 data at 10:30 a.m. Friday, reporting 344 new cases and a record number of tests processed.
Health officials continue to urge Torontonians to practise physical distancing, wear a mask when that's not possible and wash your hands as much as possible.
Toronto Public Library to start curbside pickup
The Toronto Public Library announced today that 67 of its branches will be accepting online reservations for curbside pickup beginning on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the library system says that, depending on what items are requested, patrons will be able to get their materials as soon as Tuesday.
TPL says it has done an intensive clean of all of its locations and consulted with public health authorities on how to best go about curbside pickup.
Staff will be required to wear personal protective equipment and all materials returned to the library will be held in a 72-hour quarantine before being put back into circulation.
Physical distancing will be observed and the library suggests that anyone coming to pick up their materials should wear a mask.
The library had already opened the dropboxes at 70 of its branches to accept returns of some borrowed materials.
Books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and audiobooks are currently being accepted for return, but the library asks that customers hold on to other materials.
Public libraries across Ontario have been closed since mid-March to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
TPL says it is not currently accepting donations of books or any other items.
City to close 3 major roads this weekend for ActiveTO
Meanwhile, the city is set to close sections of three major roads to vehicles this weekend for ActiveTO, in total making more than 10 kilometres of roadway available for pedestrians and cyclists.
The initiative, launched last month, involves creating quiet streets to help residents practise physical distancing while spending time outdoors.
The following roads are set to close from 6 a.m. on June 6 until 11 p.m. on June 7:
- Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. As a result, the eastbound Gardiner Expressway off-ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West (exit #146) will also be closed.
- Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Leslie Street to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue).
- Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.
"By giving people space to practise physical distancing while being outside for activity, we are supporting fundamental health advice while continuing to work to stop the spread of COVID-19," Tory said in a news release.
Meanwhile, Toronto city council voted for a 25-kilometre expansion of the city's cycling network last week, most of which is expected to be ready for riders at some point this summer.
With files from The Canadian Press