COVID-19 Updates:

  • Community Update

Ontario Extends Emergency Orders

Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This extension will be in effect until June 30, 2020 to ensure the government continues to have the necessary tools to safely and gradually reopen the province, while continuing to support frontline health care workers and protect vulnerable populations from COVID-19.

While current emergency orders will remain in place until the end of the month, the government will continue to review each one on an ongoing, case-by-case basis to determine when and if they can safely be adjusted or lifted, as part of the province’s framework to safely reopen the province.

Over the past week, the government announced 31 public health unit regions across the province may proceed to Stage 2 of its Framework for Reopening the Province. This will allow additional businesses and services to reopen and more people to return to work.

In addition, larger social gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed in all parts of the province, and people are encouraged to create or join a social circle. Social circles are different from social gatherings. Social gatherings of people from outside your household are limited to 10 people. A social circle is voluntary, but if adopted should include all household members, and can include family and friends outside the household up to a maximum of 10 people in the social circle, who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. To learn how to create a social circle, please see the step-by-step guide.

To help stop the spread, people should continue to follow public health guidelines, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering where physical distancing is a challenge and washing their hands thoroughly and frequently. Anyone who is worried they may have COVID-19, or who may have been exposed to the virus, is encouraged to go for testing.

Ontario Pauses Commercial Evictions

Ontario government passed the Protecting Small Business Act, temporarily halting or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during COVID-19. The legislation applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance for evictions from May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020.

Landlords and tenants are encouraged to participate in the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses, as the program requires landlords to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants and commits them to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

Camping will resume gradually at a number of national parks and national historic sites across Canada starting on June 22, 2020

The health and safety of Canadians, visitors, and employees is the Government of Canada’s priority in opening national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas to visitors. Parks Canada is following the advice of public health experts to limit the spread of COVID-19 while offering Canadians access to the health and wellness benefits that come from being in natural spaces.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced that starting June 22, 2020, Parks Canada will begin to offer some camping services at select national parks and national historic sites across the country in alignment with the guidance of national, provincial, territorial, and local health authorities. Initially, camping will be available only to visitors with existing reservations. Parks Canada will gradually begin to accept new online reservations for some campgrounds over the coming weeks. Visitors should check the Parks Canada website regularly for updates and information on services available and reservation windows.       

Given current limitations on international travel, existing reservations from international visitors, including visitors from the United States of America, will be cancelled and automatically refunded in full up to and including August 7, 2020. Parks Canada will monitor international travel restrictions and may adjust this date in the future.  Canadians who plan to travel outside of their home province to camp at or visit a Parks Canada destination must follow the applicable provincial or territorial travel restrictions. Some provinces and territories allow only essential inbound travel at this time. Others require that outside visitors follow a self-isolation protocol. It is not possible to self-isolate at Parks Canada campgrounds.

The camping experience at Parks Canada will be different than in previous years. Visitors are required to have a reservation in order to camp at a Parks Canada place. Roofed accommodations such as yurts and oTENTiks will only become available at select locations later in the season. Visitors will have access to some trails, day use areas, green spaces, and some recreational boating.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the Parks Canada website, plan ahead and be well-prepared for their visit.

The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available. It also provides advice on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while at Parks Canada places, including guidance on physical distancing, hygiene and other safety measures. 

City of Toronto opens registration for CaféTO plan to safely increase outdoor dining space for local restaurants and bars

Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is opening online registration for CaféTO.

A City staff report on CaféTO, scheduled for consideration at Executive Committee on June 22, proposes the City take quick action to make way for additional safe outdoor dining spaces for local restaurants and bars. A simple online registration form and guidebook for the proposed program is now available at toronto.ca/cafeTO.

Restaurants and bars, along with their patios, remain closed for dine-in service due to provincial orders and public health recommendations. Restaurants with existing patios can open them once provincial orders are lifted and as long as they follow public health guidelines. If approved by Executive Committee, followed by Toronto City Council later this month, the CaféTO recommendations would make it easier for many restaurant and bar owners to open patios, expand them, and access additional space for physical distancing, in accordance with public health guidelines.

The proposed report recommends City staff work closely with qualifying local restaurant and bar operators to establish options for café configurations within the right-of-way, while also temporarily pausing certain bylaw elements for the 2020 patio season to ensure:

  • rapid installation of permitted cafés while maintaining public safety
  • access to restaurant and bar services and facilities for those dining outdoors
  • permit and application fees are waived for approved cafés and
  • accessibility and physical distancing requirements are met.

Local restaurants and bars can begin the process to register for the proposed new program to better understand requirements and start planning. Opening registration, including providing a new, straight-forward guidebook containing patio placement requirements for approved restaurant and bar operators, represents an important step in preparing for future direction by City Council. Staff continue to prepare now so the City can act quickly to help many qualifying restaurants and bars generate revenue this summer.

A cross-divisional action team from Toronto Public Health, Transportation Services, Economic Development, Municipal Licensing and Standards, City Planning, and Strategic Communications has been overseeing program development to ensure it’s made available as soon as possible, pending committee and council consideration. Members of the group have been working closely with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), restaurant associations and other key stakeholders to urgently navigate all possible considerations while anticipating issues.

The CaféTO staff report is available online. The Sidewalk cafés and marketing displays bylaw (Chapter 742) is also available.