Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the further closures of of non-essential city services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tory made the announcement Tuesday via media conference as the mayor continues his self-isolation after returning from a trip to England. He said he is displaying no symptoms.
Critical and essential services will continue, which includes emergency services, Toronto water, workers in the shelter system and long-term care workers. Tory said garbage and recycling will still be collected.
Road operations, Toronto hydro and TTC operations will still continue to operate.
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These measures are being done, Tory said, as the city efforts to scale back on non-essential services.
He said non-essential staff will also be sent home but that they will still be paid. He said no one will be laid off.
“We are doing this in the interest of setting an example,” Tory said.
“The real impetus behind this was to follow the advice of the chief medical officer to limit opportunities for citizens, including those who work for the city, to interact with each other and to be sure we’re setting an example.”
The mayor said that it’s early in the fight against the virus but that once it’s over, the city will plan a shop local, buy local celebration to help the local economy to rebound.
Tory said the celebration will also include a second St. Patrick’s Day event.
Earlier on Tuesday, Premier Ford declared a state of emergency for the province.
Ford said grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, manufacturing facilities, public transit, important public services, construction sites and office buildings will all continue to operate.
“Right now, we need to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to avoid overwhelming our health-care system,” Ford added.
Shortly after, the province announced its first COVID-19 related death, a 77-year-old man from Muskoka who was in contact with someone who was infected with the virus.
A coroner’s office will be determining whether the man died from coronavirus or because of underlying health issues while being infected.
—With files from Gabby Rodrigues