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Planning is underway on how city could eventually be reopened: Tory
A playground at Grange Park in the city's downtown core is taped off following the city's closure of all facilities within Toronto parks. (Ken Enlow/ CP24)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2020 7:43AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 14, 2020 8:39AM EDT
Mayor John Tory says that planning is underway on how the city could eventually be reopened, even as MPP’s meet at Queen’s Park to extend an emergency order requiring the closure of non-essential businesses for another 28 days.
Tory made the comment during an interview with CP24 on Tuesday morning, noting that he would be participating in a fairly “lengthy” briefing on the city’s “recovery plan” this afternoon.
He said that while any determination on when certain restrictions will be lifted will be made solely on the basis of advice from public health officials, efforts are being undertaken now to plan for how Toronto could eventually be reopened in “an orderly fashion” that might even include a “celebratory aspect” to help encourage the return of residents to suffering businesses.
“We are planning for it. I don’t want people to think that means it will happen tomorrow afternoon because it won’t but we are very conscious of the fact that people want this,” he said. “That is why we are saying please stay home and please stay two metres apart from each other so the day can come sooner,” he said.
While most of the world remains under some form of lockdown, a number of countries have slowly begun to lift some of the restrictions that were put in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19 .
Austria has allowed smaller stores previous deemed non-essential to reopen and has said that it will let shopping malls and larger stores reopen on May 1.
Denmark, meanwhile, will let child care centres and some schools reopen on Wednesday but only for those in lower grades at first as part of a gradual return.
Both those countries have reported no more than half of the confirmed number of cases that Canada has.
Italy has also allowed some shops to reopen, though harder hit regions remain under virtual lockdowns.
Speaking with CP24, Tory said that officials from his office have been in touch with their counterparts in other cities internationally to get a sense of how municipalities are planning for the resumption of public life.
“We are watching it happening because we do sort of have the advantage of those people being ahead of us on the calendar,” he said. “So how they are doing it and how it works but we are also going to see how it works in the context of the health aspects because we are very concerned that we don’t do it too soon and we don’t end up with a second wave hitting us right away and then we are back to the sort of lockdown again.”
Premier Doug Ford told reporters on Monday that while a flattening of new cases has presented a “glimmer of light,” we are going to have to put up with significant restrictions on public life for at least “a little bit longer.”
The emergency order extension being considered by MPP's today would, in effect, mean that the earlierst the province could lift many restrictions would be May 11.
“I know everyone is getting antsy. I see it, I hear it, people want to get out there but what if we do that and all of a sudden this just comes back with a vengeance and bites us in the backside? I would rather be safe than sorry,” Ford said.