Toronto’s top doctor says that we will have to continue to practice self-protection measures even after a large proportion of the population has been vaccinated and that may even include “some balance of remote work and physical in-person work” going forward.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa made the comment during an interview with BNN on Tuesday morning.

She said that the more we can drive down transmission of COVID-19 in the community, the sooner we will be able to get “back to business and life as we knew it or closer to what we knew it before COVID-19.”

But she warned that “things aren’t going to restore magically” even as vaccines become more and more available.

“There isn’t an on/off switch even as vaccine rolls out. It is not going to happen overnight. But we know that the more we are able to reduce transmission, the more effective those vaccines will be and the sooner we will start to emerge from this pandemic and start to adapt some of the practices that we are more used to and are more consistent with life as we knew it,” she said.

De Villa told BNN that the city is still in the midst of an active fight with COVID-19, one made worse by the circulation of new, more infectious variants.

De Villa, however, said that “we do have to think about the future and what that might look like.”

In a post-pandemic world, she said that she does imagine us getting back “to life more like it was before there was a COVID-19.”

At the same time, she said that it is important to “understand that for some time we will have to continue to practice self-protection measures in order to operate as safely as possible.”

“That will likely involve some balance of remote work and physical in-person work as we seek to learn more and more about the duration of immunity provided by vaccine and the full benefit we can expect to receive from vaccine rollout,” she said.

Toronto will remain under a strict lockdown until at least March 8.

Mayor John Tory has previously said that he is “optimistic” that the city can be moved back to the provincial framework for COVID-19 restrictions at that time, which would allow some business to reopen.