Advertisement

Close non-essential businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic: Toronto medical officer

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto health, fire officials give update on COVID-19

Toronto’s medical officer is calling on all non-essential businesses in the city to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Eileen de Villa made the remarks during an update Thursday afternoon on the city’s efforts in combating the pandemic’s spread.

It is an expansion of her calls earlier this week that nightclubs, theatres, restaurants and bars all close, with the exception of those that offer takeout or delivery.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 4 residents at Oshawa long-term care home test positive for COVID-19

The province later mandated those closures after Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency.

De Villa said she was encouraged by some of the social distancing measures she had been hearing about, but did want to see the expanded closures.

Story continues below advertisement

“Around our city, many restaurants, bars and other non-essential businesses have complied with recommendations and orders for temporary closure to support social distancing,” de Villa said.

“However, I’m still hearing from many people around our city that there are still a number of non-essential businesses that continue to keep their doors open.

Click to play video 'Toronto recommends all clothing stores, salons, and non-essential businesses close to contain COVID-19' Toronto recommends all clothing stores, salons, and non-essential businesses close to contain COVID-19
Toronto recommends all clothing stores, salons, and non-essential businesses close to contain COVID-19 – Mar 19, 2020

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Toronto health officials encourage restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres to close

“If we want to be successful in protecting ourselves, our families, and our community against this virus, we have to take social distancing even more seriously and this includes non-essential businesses like hair and nail salons and clothing stores.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

When de Villa initially recommended closures on Monday, she said at the time that a fine of $25,000 could be applied under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to businesses that remained open despite her request.

Story continues below advertisement

De Villa was asked whether or not the businesses affected by the expanded recommendation Thursday could face the same fine if they remained open.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Man in his 50s is the second COVID-19 death in Ontario' Coronavirus outbreak: Man in his 50s is the second COVID-19 death in Ontario
Coronavirus outbreak: Man in his 50s is the second COVID-19 death in Ontario – Mar 19, 2020

She said compliance will first be evaluated, but added, “there is always the possibility.”

“I am encouraging non-essential businesses that remain open to get behind social distancing. I’m encouraging these businesses to do the right thing,” she said.

De Villa said as of 1 p.m. Thursday, there were 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, with 11 hospitalized.

Advertisement