‘What more can be done?’: further restrictions on Toronto businesses expected this week

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Coronavirus: Further restrictions expected for Toronto businesses
WATCH: With daily COVID-19 counts on the rise, Toronto’s top doctor says the city is planning to announce new restrictions on businesses this week. Brittany Rosen has more from experts, who say they aren’t certain further measures will slow the spread. – Jan 3, 2021

Toronto is bracing for additional restrictions on businesses as COVID-19 cases in the city continue to rise at an alarming rate.

Eileen De Villa, the city’s chief medical officer, said on Wednesday that Toronto will soon announce further measures on businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

But University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman says he’s uncertain these measures will make a difference.

“I don’t know what options are left,” Bowman said.

“I’d like to hear more from our leaders on what’s driving the numbers from an evidence-based point of view. I’d like to hear more about the variants.”

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Bowman cites a lack of transparency among government officials and says more data needs to be shared.

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Sunday was the second consecutive day the city hit 700 new daily cases, coming in at 786.

Bowman says ramping up enforcement would be difficult, as people are receiving mixed messages, and at this point, are suffering fatigue from co-operating with pandemic restrictions.

“These politicians that went off to beautiful beaches, this does not help.”

“What that does is it erodes trust, and when you erode trust, you get less compliance.”

On Thursday, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips resigned as finance minister after he returned home from a personal vacation to St. Barts at the height of the pandemic.

Since then, it’s been revealed that several politicians from across the country also travelled abroad recently.

The city told Global News Sunday it “continues to enforce provincial regulations with respect to gatherings and the closure of non-essential businesses,” but did not say whether there are plans to boost enforcement.

Meanwhile, there is heightened concern from Toronto’s business community, especially when it comes to existing discrepancies between big box stores and small retailers.

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“To add any more complications, to add any more restrictions to the small businesses through these lean months is only going to be devastating,” says John Kiru, executive director of Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.

“We’ve not seen the rationale, we’ve not seen the science behind the decisions that have already been made.”

Kiru says there are roughly 93,000 small businesses who are members of their local BIA’s and subsequently part of TABIA. He says he’s seen hundreds, if not thousands of them dissipate, which have mostly been restaurants.


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