Ontario courts will begin resuming in-person proceedings across the province on Monday, July 6, 2020. The gradual reopening of courtrooms will include strict health and safety protocols to protect staff and everyone required to attend a courthouse from COVID-19.
To start, 149 courtrooms in both the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice are reopening in 44 locations. Additional courtrooms will open by September with the remaining opening by November 1, 2020. To help maintain physical distancing, plexiglass barriers are being installed in courtrooms, interview rooms, intake offices and at public counters. Everyone who visits a courthouse will be required to wear a face covering and will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
The government is consulting with justice sector partners, leaders and innovators to develop investment priorities to support new ways of delivering and increasing access to justice that span the entire sector and province, including rural and remote communities and criminal, civil and family law fields.
This coming Thursday, July 2, 2020, the TTC is introducing operational changes to address pandemic health and safety concerns, including making face coverings mandatory, starting all-door boarding and bringing back fareboxes on buses.
“Safety is always our top priority and throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have continually adapted our operations and services based on best practices and in consultation with Toronto Public Health,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “The changes we are making on July 2 are very much in line with that approach, ensuring the well-being of customers and employees is our paramount consideration.”
On June 17, the TTC Board approved a recovery plan that included making face coverings or masks mandatory for everyone travelling on the TTC as physical distancing will not always be possible as the city and our neighbouring regions begin to re-open for business. Exemptions will be made for children under two years of age and for those who have medical considerations or are unable to put on or take off a face covering. The TTC reminds everyone to respect the rights of those who are unable to wear a face covering. Likewise, TTC employees who work behind a physical shield or in areas not accessible to the public are also exempt.
Given the exemptions and based on experiences in other jurisdictions where compliance has been high, the TTC does not believe strict enforcement will be necessary. But compliance rates will be monitored to determine if further actions are needed.
To support our customers, the TTC will undertake a one-time strategy to distribute 1 million single use non-medical masks in the community and throughout the transit system. Masks will be distributed to TTC customers in the community through a partnership with the City of Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Office and affiliated agencies. Remaining masks will be distributed by TTC employees on Wheel-Trans vehicles, in subway stations on a rotating basis, and along the busiest bus routes.
The recovery plan also includes changes specific to the TTC’s extensive bus network. In order to allow for improved customer flow and minimize crowding on buses, boarding and exiting will be available at all doors. Customers paying with PRESTO can board at the most convenient and least crowded door. Those paying with cash, tickets and tokens should board at the front door only and use the farebox. Paper transfers will be available for proof of payment.
These operational changes are in addition to numerous other health and safety protocols introduced over the past six months, including multiple vehicle and station cleanings each day, installing hand sanitizer dispensers in subway stations and on streetcars, and deploying additional buses on the busiest routes to reduce crowding.
For more on all of the TTC’s efforts to combat COVID-19, visit www.ttc.ca/covid-19.