Toronto to close 50 kilometres of streets for pedestrians Ontario allows garden centres and hardware stores to reopen this weekend

Top COVID-19 stories and news Restaurants are.


Top COVID-19 stories and news

Follow the latest Toronto news on coronavirus


4:18 pm Toronto reports 217 new cases of COVID-19, 35 new deaths

There are 217 new COVID-19 infections in Toronto and 35 new COVID-19-related deaths since the previous day’s report, medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said today.

In total, the city has had 6,019 confirmed cases and 646 probable cases of COVId-19. There are 391 people in hospital, with 99 in intensive care units. In total, 504 people have died in Toronto.


4 pm Toronto Public Health shifts advice: Go outside but keep your distance

Toronto Public Health is shifting advice from telling people to stay home as much as possible, to telling people it’s okay to go outside but to practice physical distancing.

“We have started to shift from telling people to stay home as much as possible to encouraging people to keep their distance as much as possible,” Mayor John Tory said today. “And we are working to find ways and encourage people to keep their distance.”

To that end, the city will rollout a plan called ActiveTO to create more space for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders. Tory said pedestrian and car traffic has dropped during the pandemic, but bike traffic has remained steady.

Tory said Toronto will accelerate its 10-year cycling plan to boost cycling infrastructure, especially as many people will still be wary of riding public transit as the city reopens.

The city will add 50 kilometres of “quiet streets” by closing some streets for local car traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. Areas that lack park space and areas close to large parks will also restrict car traffic to alleviate congestion.

Transportation staff and public health will work together to close roads adjacent to trails and areas that attract crowds on weekends and holidays on a trial basis “as a matter of safety for pedestrians and cyclists,” Tory said.

“The beginning of this war is ending,” the mayor added. “It’s not over yet but it is nearer to the end than the beginning. But there’s a long road ahead of us to get back to anywhere near our normal lives.”

Medical officer of health Eileen de Villa echoed the mayor’s comments, adding that active transportation such as walking and cycling will be key to the city’s recovery.

“The risk for becoming infected with COVID-19 while passing someone on the street, walking trail or bike path is low. So when you are out running or walking about, please step aside or pass others quickly and courteously,” she said. “We know that mobility is key to recovery, this is why as our recovery process begins we need to keep Toronto moving.”


2:03 pm John Tory to announce protocol for retailers reopening on May 11

Retailers with street entrances will be allowed to open for curbside delivery on Monday, May 11, Premier Doug Ford announced today.

Asked if he thinks the move will create crowded lineups on Toronto sidewalks, Ford said he had spoken to Mayor John Tory about the issue and that Tory will determine the protocol.

“There’s a tale of two cities within Toronto. There’s the downtown – Dundas Square and Queen Street may be a lot busier,” Ford said. “But if you go to Etobicoke, where I live, or Scarborough or North York, you’re not going to have these big lineups.”

“Downtown is a whole other kettle of fish and mayor Tory is going to be putting in the proper protocols,” he added.


1:20 pm Hardware stores and garden centres to reopen this weekend

Ontario will allow garden centres, nurseries and hardware stores to reopen this weekend.

Premier Doug Ford said today that on May 8 at 12:01 am, garden centres and nurseries will be allowed to reopen. On May 9 at 12:01 am, hardware stores and safety supply stores will be allowed to reopen.

Ford added that people can shop in these stores as long as businesses follow strict public health measures to protect staff and customers similar to the measures in place in grocery stores, such as contactless payment and physical distancing. Hardware stores can continue to offer curbside pickup as well.

As of Monday, May 11 at 12:01 am, retail stores with a street entrance will be allowed to provide curbside pickup options, Ford said.

Additionally, the province is expanding projects that qualify as essential construction to include  demolition work and multi-unit residential projects such as condo and apartments.

“The trends are heading in the right direction. The number of new cases continue to decline,” Ford said, adding that the reopening measures he announced today are based on public health advice.


1:11 pm Toronto to open second recovery site for homeless COVID-19 patients

Toronto is opening a second recovery site for people experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for COVID-19, and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the shelter system. The new site will open on Friday has a capacity of 250. It will be located downtown and operated in partnership with the University Health Network (UHN), Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) and community health partners.

A news release notes that the site is not a hospital, because it does not offer acute care, or a shelter, because the infection control measures in place are similar to a health-care setting. The first recovery site opened last month and has a capacity of 200.

Read more here.


12:09 pm BMO Field is the latest sports venue to transform into a kitchen

After turning Scotiabank Arena into a massive kitchen, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) is expanding its meal donation program to BMO Field.

The Bringing Toronto Back To Its Feet initiative will expand from producing 10,000 to 13,000 meals a day for hospital front-line workers and food rescue organization Second Harvest to donate to food banks and shelters.

The home of the Toronto FC’s food preparation facilities are joining the push to prepare and assemble the meal packages. MLSE expects to have reached a goal of producing 100,000 meals later on this week.


11:16 am Nearly 11 million Canadians have applied for CERB

At today’s ministers press conference, Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos gave updated numbers on the number of Canadians and businesses who have applied for the federal government’s emergency relief programs.

These numbers are up-to-date as of May 5: 

  • 545,000 businesses have received emergency loans up to $40,000
  • 7.5 million Canadians have received one payment of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the government has received 10.9 million applications and 10.7 million of those applications have been processed.
  • 110,000 businesses have submitted request for the wage subsidy and the majority of applications have been processed. Payments will be received by tomorrow.

11:03 am LCBO stores to start extending hours on May 14

The LCBO will gradually extend the reduced hours that were put in place in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 14, more than 360 stores will operate from 10 am-9 pm, Tuesday through Saturdays.

Other locations will continue on the reduced schedule of 11 am-6pm, Tuesday through Saturdays. Most stores will be open from 11 am-6 pm on Sundays.

Check the store locator feature on lcbo.com on May 14 for updates on which stores will have hours extended. The LCBO also advises customers to check their local stores hours, as they may vary.

The expansion of store hours will continue in stages through to the first week of June. All LCBO stores will remain closed on Mondays until further notice.


10:42 am Ontario reports 412 new COVID-19 cases, 68 deaths

Ontario public heath officials have reported 412 new COVID-19 cases since yesterday. That’s an increase of 2.3 per cent, slightly up from yesterday’s increase of 2.2 per cent. The total number of cases in the province is 18,722.

There have been 86 more deaths, bringing the number of people who have died in the province to 1,429. 

The number of outbreaks in long-term care homes also continues to increase. Five more outbreaks have been reported for a total of 223.

Despite premier Doug Ford touting increased testing capacity on Monday, the number of completed tests is again falling short of the 16,000 per day capacity. There were 12,961 tests completed since yesterday and 8,790 cases are under investigation.

The amount of resolved cases continues to rise, with 13,222 people having recovered. That’s more than 70 per cent of Ontario’s overall cases.

There are 1,032 patients in hospital, with 219 in intensive care and 174 in intensive care on ventilators.


10:05 am Ontario lowers liquor prices for bars and restaurants

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has temporarily lowered the minimum price that bars and restaurants can charge for whiskey, gin, run and other spirits, effective immediately.

The move comes after the province allowed bars and restaurants to sell alcohol as part of takeout and delivery food orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The price of spirits is going from $2 per 29 mL to $1.34 per 29 ML. The measure will be revoked on January 1, 2021.


9:05 am Luminto Festival to move online for three days in June

After cancelling due to coronavirus, organizers of multi-disciplinary arts festival Luminto will now shift online for three days. The virtual version of the festival will take place June 11-13, with events streaming on Luminato’s website and social media channels.

Programming will include live and pre-recorded performances, conversations, panels, DJ sets and participatory programming, as well as key works from past Luminato Festivals.

The event is free event and takes place from 7pm on Thursday (June 11) until late Saturday night (June 13). Family programming begins at 10am on Saturday. Program details will be announced soon.


9 am Ontario extends emergency orders to May 19

The province is extending all emergency orders to May 19 to curb the spread of COVID-19, Doug Ford’s government announced on Wednesday. The extension means the orders will be in effect until after the Victoria Day long weekend.

The orders, enacted under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, include the closure of non-essential businesses and workplaces and banning public gatherings of more than five people.

Ford announced the state of emergency on March 17 and extended it to May 12. The act allows the government to establish and enforce emergency orders.

The government also announced that  families, farms and small businesses will be billed off-peak electricity prices until May 31.

“Although we are making progress in our fight against this COVID-19 outbreak, we are not out of the woods yet. The extension of this electricity rate relief will leave more money in people’s pockets until businesses can start to reopen and people can get back to work,” Ford said in a statement.


9 am Canada has over 62,000 cases of COVID-19

There are 62,046 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 4,043 people have died.

The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized. 

Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.

@nowtoronto

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