As warm weather arrives in Toronto this weekend, Ontario's top doctor urges people not to go outside 'on a whim'
Published Wednesday, April 29, 2020 5:00PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 29, 2020 5:23PM EDT
Ontario’s top doctor is urging people to “stay at the task” of physical distancing this weekend as many parts of the province, including Toronto, see the first signs of summer-like weather.
Environment Canada is calling for a high of 19 C in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday, the warmest forecast the city has seen so far this year.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says while he recognizes that some may be experiencing “cabin fever,” it is important to keep up public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“On a weekend where there is good weather, I know it is very hard for people to stay inside,” he said.
“I'm not discouraging people from going outdoors… but do that in areas where you can seek to maintain your physical distance.”
Williams said the key to doing activities outdoors is to make a plan about where and when you are going to go.
“You plan your outdoor walk... in areas that are less populated,” he said. “If you go to a walking path that is fully packed, there is no way you are going to maintain physical distancing.”
He added that people should also consider the time of day when deciding to leave home.
“The planning part is important rather than on a whim,” Williams said.
Williams was also asked about cottagers eager to get to their properties in the warmer weather.
He said the province is still urging people to avoid doing that unless absolutely necessary.
“If you don't need to go up then we would prefer you don't,” Williams said.
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health, said communities in cottage areas still have a number of concerns about increasing the local population.
“I think first of all there is some concern that people coming from the Greater Toronto Area, where the preponderance of infections exists, may have an asymptotic infection and bring it to that community where they haven't had very much infection,” she said.
“I think another concern is that the health care system may not be equipped to deal with the number of people who come. They are concerned that there would be demands put on the local health care that may not be able to be met.”
Williams said those who do go to their cottages should not stay for an extended period of time and should also bring their own supplies so they do not put increased pressure on local grocery stores and other essential businesses.