The City of Toronto has spoken. In a Toronto COVID-19 update on Friday evening, March 13, the 6ix announced it plans to ask residents who have travelled out of the country within the past two weeks to self-isolate. However, the call for Ontarians not to gather in groups of more than 250 people does not apply to public transit, says Toronto's medical officer of health.
Earlier, Ontario's own chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams urged residents not to gather in groups of more than 250.
Almost immediately, there were some doubts about how this suggestion would apply to public transit.
And Toronto's Dr. Eileen de Villa confirmed in a City press conference on Friday evening that, in fact, it doesn't apply.
"I was advised specifically that mass transit was not contemplated in that recommendation, that is not meant to be included in that recommendation," Dr. de Villa explained.
So what if you need to take transit in the meantime?
"I recognize that many people do need to go out and about, and commute and often times that means using public transit," she added.
"And so we ask people to engage in responsible behaviour, to engage in good hand washing and other respiratory etiquette or hygiene practices, and to please stay home when you're sick.
"That's what will make places like our public transit system safe for people to use as we want to continue to have our city function as best as we can."
Watch the news conference for an update on the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 response https://t.co/XWB0n8qNVH— City of Toronto (@City of Toronto) 1584135889.0
Per the Toronto Star's Ben Spurr, TTC subway trains used on Line 1 can hold up to 1,458 people.
A single GO Train coach can carry 162, representing a capacity of around 1,944 on every 12-coach train.
City manager Chris Murray reiterates the anti-crowd recommendation from the province doesn't include mass transit. He too doesn't elaborate.— Ben Spurr (@Ben Spurr) 1584134086.0
Meanwhile, according to a tweet sent out by Star journalist David Rider, Dr. de Villa added a "strong recommendation" that anyone based or residing in Toronto who has been out of the country in the last 14 days should self-isolate for two weeks.*
These measures will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 14.
My statement on beginning self-isolation based on Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. @epdevilla's updated reco… https://t.co/I9FCOI997b— John Tory (@John Tory) 1584135752.0
It was confirmed this move will also affect Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was in England this past week. Tory will be under isolation for the foreseeable future.
Several buildings, activities, and events will be shutting down throughout the city.
*This article has been updated.