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Coronavirus: Toronto closing licensed child care centres, recreation centres, libraries

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The City of Toronto has announced all non-essential buildings are being closed amid the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, and Chris Murray, Toronto’s city manager, said as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday all City-run licensed child care centres, recreation centres, arenas, ski hills, libraries and museums will be closed until April 5.

It was also announced March break camps will be cancelled.

READ MORE: Ontario confirms 19 new cases of coronavirus, bringing provincial total to 79

Murray said the decisions were taken in an effort to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19 and to help protect vulnerable populations.

“As you can appreciate, this is a very fluid situation and information is changing rapidly,” he said.

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“Notwithstanding the valuable contribution that these facilities make to people’s lives, I think what’s critically important right now is that we do everything … to mitigate the further spread of the virus.”

The City of Toronto’s council and committee meetings have been suspended for “the current meeting cycle.”

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Permits for events at City of Toronto facilities and parks have been cancelled with the exception of wedding chambers at civic centres.

City hall, Metro hall and all Toronto civic centres will remain open.

Murray said reimbursements for fees paid will be processed “as soon as possible.”

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De Villa also “strongly” encouraged residents returning from trips to international destinations, including the United States, to self-isolate for 14 days.

Meanwhile, Mayor John Tory announced in a statement on Friday that he was self-isolating for less than two weeks after recently travelling to London, England on business. He said he had no symptoms and was feeling “great.”

“Since the first case of COVID-19 appeared in Toronto, I have always stressed the importance of following the advice of our medical experts,” Tory wrote.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Toronto Mayor John Tory to self-isolate after trip to England

“[De Villa’s] advice would also apply to me. As a result, I will be going into self-isolation for the next 12 days.”
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As of Friday morning, there were 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.

The following emergency services are unaffected by the closures:

– Toronto police, fire and paramedics services
– TTC
– Toronto Water operations, wastewater collection and treatment
– Waste collection
– Shelters and respite centres
– Long-term care homes (visitor restrictions in place)
– Roads, sidewalks maintenance
– Snow removal

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