As you might know, this afternoon the Premier announced that Toronto and Peel regions will be entering a state of “lockdown” starting this Monday at 12:01AM.
I’m going to begin today with a quick rundown of what that will mean for our community.
Breakdown of key information:
- Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open;
- Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
- No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person;
- Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people;
- Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
- Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big-box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity;
- Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited;
- Personal care services closed;
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.
Note – this is not an exhaustive list.
You can find the full release from the government here and more details about what will be allowed to remain open here.
Going back into lockdown is going to be very difficult for many members of our community, and I want to quickly highlight that if you’re feeling your mental health deteriorating, you can find mental health resources at the bottom of this email.
I also want to say this one more time to everyone. We are going to get through this. Our community is one of love, strength, and compassion – and we are going to see the other side of COVID-19.
Apart from the lockdown, one of the key issues that I’ve been hearing about this week has been protecting Ontario’s Greenbelt and wetlands from irresponsible development. Here in Toronto-St. Paul’s, we’re very familiar with this government giving handouts to developers over local concerns, and this week we’ve learned that the Ford government has been using Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) inappropriately to enable development on these protected areas. It’s absolutely unthinkable that this government would use the cover of a pandemic to do this – and the outcry from across Ontario has been immense.
If you’re interested in reading more about this issue – check out this article.
This has been a busy week at the Legislature, and I’m glad to be able to share a highlight with you! Yesterday, I tabled a bill to establish a provincial protocol that will help eliminate the gaps and inconsistencies in our healthcare system that are experienced by sickle cell patients. I’m incredibly proud to have worked on this bill with the incredible team from the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario.
You can watch the video here.
Finally today, I’m sending a huge shoutout to the incredible artists and culture workers who sent in their questions and concerns this week for culture estimates at Queen’s Park. The response was overwhelming, and I am deeply grateful for every single submission.