Toronto Has Just Officially Declared A State Of Emergency Over COVID-19
As cases of COVID-19 in the city continue to rise, Mayor John Tory just announced a state of emergency in Toronto. This news comes after cases across Ontario almost doubled in the past few days. This move will essentially allow decisions to be made without a council vote needed for approval for the time being.
Tory made the announcement on Monday afternoon, March 23, during a live video as he remains in self-isolation due to a recent trip to the U.K.
"We are declaring a state of emergency as part of the City's ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Tory in a statement posted on his social media.
"(This is) to ensure the municipal government can continue to act and respond quickly to the pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead."
Per City News, Toronto Fire chief Matthew Pegg says this is the first time a state of emergency has ever been called in the city.*
This move is a part of the city's effort to stop the spread of the virus.
It comes on the back of repeated advice from Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, according to CTV News.
"We know the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in our city and that the next few days are absolutely critical in our ongoing efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19," reads the declaration shared by Tory on social media.
"In making this declaration, Mayor Tory strongly encourages our residents to continue taking every precaution in protecting themselves — stay home, stay safe, and only venture out to buy essential supplies once a week. Even better, order online if at all possible."
Focusing on these efforts to maintain social distancing, Tory said he is still seeing actions from some residents that are "selfish, unacceptable and it cannot continue," per the Toronto Star.
According to CBC, the provincial legislation states that Tory, as the head of a municipality, can now make orders believed to be necessary without council ratifying those measures.
This news comes after Dr. de Villa recommended just last week that all non-essential stores close up for the time being.
That city suggestion was transformed into an official provincial order by Premier Ford on Monday, when he stated that all non-essential stores in Ontario will be forced to close up for the next 14 days.
*This article has been updated.