Is Toronto heading for another shutdown? Mayor Tory says 'we're trying very hard to avoid that'
Published Monday, September 28, 2020 11:08PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:01AM EDT
Mayor John Tory says he will rely on the advice of the city's top public health official on what further steps the city could take to curb the spread of COVID-19 as new cases continue to rise.
Asked if Toronto is headed for another shutdown during The Mayor, CP24's monthly call-in show, Tory said health officials are hoping to avoid that.
"If (Dr. Eileen de Villa) says to me that the way in which we're going to save lives and protect the healthcare system and keep people healthier, is that we have to go further, then I will make that representation to the premier and do whatever I can, as the mayor, to try and make that happen," Tory said.
"But I think we've learned a lot since the first wave in the spring. And we've learned that we probably can do the kind of more surgical and tactical things that we've been doing the last few days to put in place some restrictions on what goes on mostly to do with people in congregate settings and giving them advice about not spending time with people from outside their home, and so on. And I think we really want to try that."
The Ontario Hospital Association called on the province on Monday to reinstate Stage 2 restrictions across the Greater Toronto Area, and Ottawa as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
When asked about it during the city's coronavirus briefing, de Villa said it should be put into consideration what are the social and economic effects of another lockdown.
"The challenge is one of establishing the best balance between COVID-19 control measures and ensuring that people have access to the things that actually promote and sustain and maintain health," de Villa said.
"We've learned a lot over the course of the past several months. We know more about virus transmission than we did even just a few short months ago. So, we actually are equipped with incredible knowledge to help us establish that balance."
Tory said he hopes the restrictions announced last week that limited hours at bars and restaurants and further recommendations proposed by de Villa on Monday regarding lowering the maximum patrons in those establishments will help curb the spread of the virus.
"You have to remember that the steps we took on Friday, for example, to alter bar hours and do other things like that, you've probably got to give it at least a week to see what impact that's going to have. You have to be having a degree of patience with this recognizing that, obviously, the numbers are being watched very carefully," the mayor said.
De Villa noted that while there is nothing inherently wrong with the hospitality sector, there is a "potential level of risk distinct to it."
On social bubbles and Halloween
De Villa urged Torontonians on Monday to limit their contact with people they don't live with and said the concept of the social circle "no longer reflects the circumstances in which we live in."
Tory said people should heed the advice of the doctor and avoid meeting people who are not a member of their immediate household and "just stick with the people you live with."
"We've seen when we all cooperate it together, sometimes by mandate in the spring where people were instructed basically to stay home, nobody went to work, nobody went to school, because they were all closed, we could see the difference this made in the spread of the virus," the mayor said.
"The better we are at following along and doing the things we're asked to do, including business owners, and individual citizens, I believe that the faster we'll be through this. And I'm not saying it's going to be next week, but I think we'll be through it faster, and we will avoid a second lockdown."
When asked if a decision has been made regarding trick or treating on Halloween, Tory said de Villa has not given her advice on the matter yet.
"I suspect within the coming days, we will have some advice on Halloween, and she literally has not said anything to me, yet that would suggest it's going to be sort of recommended to be cancelled or not," he said.
"I mean, I don't have the power, nor does she to cancel Halloween. We have the ability in our positions to give people advice."