Toronto, like much of the world, has become a ghost town. In just a few days, the busy 6ix streets that are usually absolutely heaving with people have become desolate and largely empty. Many people are now working from home and avoiding transit like the TTC as the impact and fear of COVID-19 in Toronto increases.
With stores shutting down for the next few weeks and very little still open in the city, the downtown core looks almost unrecognizable.
As for Toronto's nightlife, seated dining areas of all restaurants and bars have been shut down indefinitely. Movie theatres and nightclubs have also closed their doors for the next few weeks as the city's medical officer of health urged them to do so or face a hefty fine.
It's not just downtown, either. From Toronto Pearson airport and all across the GTA, the difference is impossible to ignore.
Even the TTC and GO Transit, which generally face overcrowding especially during rush hour, are almost unrecognizable.
Trains, buses, and streetcars are still running but there's been the expected decrease in ridership.
Just a few days ago, the city's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, stated that avoiding large crowds did not apply to the TTC.
Downtown Yonge Street on a beautiful sunny day. It's like a ghost town down here. Eerie. 😟 #Toronto… https://t.co/OEG9vPihqK— 🏒🥅Paula🥅🏒 (@🏒🥅Paula🥅🏒)1584287560.0
Even so, Torontonians don't seem to be taking any chances.
Meanwhile, the province of Ontario has declared a state of emergency.
That update has come as the number of COVID-19 cases has increased, and the first provincial death was confirmed on Tuesday, March 17.
Clarkson GO Station - 8:40 train to Union Station. #covidontario @GOtransit No social distancing issues this morn… https://t.co/dh2HbIIZED— Kevin (@Kevin)1584362584.0
the view from Toronto City Hall today - deserted! #Dystopia #coronapocolypse #coronavirus #CoronavirusOutbreak… https://t.co/6KuuxMiCvL— MyNameIsPoison (@MyNameIsPoison)1584337132.0
Toronto PATH on a Tuesday at 12:45pm. https://t.co/7K3yTkBymB— Kris Pangilinan (@Kris Pangilinan)1584464294.0
It should be noted the 6ix isn't the only city in Ontario that looks a shadow of its usual self right now.
Less than a week has passed since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the capital, and the streets are so deserted that it looks as if nobody even lives there right now.
eerily deserted walking along king st west in toronto this evening. closure signs taped on the windows. anything st… https://t.co/YTjZdM3u9U— normanjennings (@normanjennings)1584410960.0
Ghost town: restaurants/cafes removing seating areas. Toronto’s busiest intersection (Yonge/Dundas) practically emp… https://t.co/DxzjRNV8gp— Faiza Amin (@Faiza Amin)1584457795.0
And, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford's decision that all public gatherings of over 50 people be cancelled until March 31, it may be a while before we see the city and the province back to normal.
For now, all we can do is marvel at how ghostly it looks.
At least Toronto is taking the pandemic seriously, that much seems clear.