Toronto begins mapping out how it can return to a more regular state but no end to quiet life yet

Mayor John Tory says he has begun talks with senior officials about how to “restart” the city safely, but he warned the time has not yet arrived for Toronto to return to more regular state.

Toronto needs a “very careful plan” about how to proceed, the mayor said in a news release on Saturday.

“When exactly we restart the city depends on each and every one of us. We are not there yet. We are very much still waging war against this virus,” Tory said in the release.

“Lives are still at risk and we cannot take our foot off the gas when it comes to all our collective efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

But the mayor said officials have begun mapping out what needs to be done now to ensure the city can communicate the plan to residents long before it is carried out.

Advice from public health officials will guide the planning work, he said. Officials will continue their focus on protecting the health of the city, he added.
 
“We also agreed that there is no ‘on/off switch’ — the plan will have to take a phased approach.”

The mayor urged residents to continue to stay home as much as possible, to practise physical distancing and to connect with friends and family members by phone or online.

“These efforts that so many of you are taking right now to stop the spread of COVID-19 will bring that restart as soon as safely possible.”

COVID-19 has killed 162 people in Toronto

As of Saturday afternoon, Toronto had 3,346 cases of COVID-19. The number includes 3,013 confirmed cases and 333 probable ones. A total of 274 people are in hospital, with 98 in intensive care units. 

A total of 162 people have died of the virus in Toronto.

People line up to enter a bank in Toronto but they keep their distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

The city’s enforcement team, meanwhile, continues to patrol areas to ensure residents are following the city’s physical distancing bylaw and provincial emergency orders.

Arrest made in assault of enforcement officer

An enforcement officer was assaulted in a park while on the job on Friday and an arrest has been made, the city said.

According to a news release on Saturday, the city received 440 complaints about people using amenities in parks that are now closed and not keeping two metres apart from other people in parks on Friday.

Bylaw and police officers issued 19 tickets, bringing the total number of tickets issued since April 3 to 338.

The city also received 30 complaints on Friday about non-essential businesses remaining open. Since March 24, bylaw officers and Toronto Public Health have issued 41 tickets and 117 notices to businesses not complying.

“The enforcement team continues to see troubling behaviour as weather improves and people become frustrated with restrictions,” the city said in the release.

For example, people are still building fire pits at Bluffers Park and gatherings in groups of more than five at the boat launch in King Mill’s Park.

“People are still removing signage and barriers at many locations. Long lines without proper social distancing continue to form outside businesses,” the city said.

Enforcement will continue all weekend, the city added.

Toronto playgrounds, including this one in Corktown Common, are temporarily closed in an effort to fight the spread of COVID-19. (Timothy Neesam/CBC)

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