Coronavirus: Toronto Public Health recommending lower restaurant capacities, extending mask bylaw

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WATCH ABOVE: The city of Toronto has surpassed its highest COVID-19 case counts since the pandemic began. Municipal officials say they’re going to make targeted changes. Matthew Bingley has more – Sep 28, 2020

Toronto’s medical officer of health says she will be recommending lower restaurant capacities and extending the City’s mask bylaw by another six months in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases.

“It’s plain to see there’s an immediate rising risk,” Dr. Eileen de Villa told reporters Monday afternoon while providing her regular update on the City’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

“Nowhere in the city escapes the risk. We move around too much for that. This is not the time to panic. It is the time to act.”

Read more: Ontario reports 700 new coronavirus cases, highest daily infections ever recorded

With “sustained increases in infections,” de Villa said she will be making several recommendations to Toronto city council when it meets on Wednesday:

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– Reducing the total number of patrons in restaurants and bars to 75 from 100
– Reducing the total number of patrons in restaurants and bars at each table to six from 10
– Lowering music and amplified noise volumes to the same volume as a regular conversation

De Villa said the recommendations are about limiting the chances of contracting COVID-19. She said the change about music, for example, is to prevent people who are out from leaning in or yelling to minimize the chances of droplet transmission.

As for the City of Toronto’s mandatory bylaw on face masks and coverings, it’s set to expire on Wednesday. De Villa said she will be recommending an extension of the existing bylaw into early 2021.

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She also suggested it’s time to end social bubbles, which she said were originally put in place to safely reestablish contact with people outside of the household as cases were dropping. De Villa said with reopenings and as students return to school, times have changed. However, a decision on ending bubbles rests with the Ontario government.

READ MORE: Face masks or coverings now mandatory in Toronto’s indoor public settings

Mayor John Tory backed de Villa’s requests during Monday’s news conference.

“I fully support these measures … They just plain make sense,” he said.

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Meanwhile, de Villa yet again encouraged people to practice two-metre physical distancing where possible, wear a face mask or covering, sanitizing hands, staying home if they’re not feeling well and to download and use the COVID-19 Alert app.

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