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Toronto Orders Some Closures, But Construction Continues

Toronto is 'recommending' all bars, restaurants and theatres close to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Toronto is recommending all bars, dine-in restaurants, nightclubs, and theatres close to further prevent the COVID-19 virus — or else.

In a news release, Toronto Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa strongly recommended the measures, which took effect at 12:01 a.m., March 17.

The Motel Bar on Queen Street has shut its door on the 'recommendation' of the City.

However, far from being a recommendation, the release warned that should businesses fail to comply, “she will issue orders to individual establishments under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.”

“I believe these unprecedented public health recommendations are necessary in order to protect the health of all Toronto residents," de Villa said. “So, if you can, stay home, help out our city by reducing your interaction with others. Every little bit counts.”

The city encouraged businesses that provide food takeout and delivery options to continue to provide the public with food options while limiting social interactions between people.

"I understand it (bar closings)," said Daniel Greaves, a musician and owner of the Queen West bar Motel, which has a capacity of just 30. "But it's painting the situation with a broad brush, treating a place with a 200 person capacity to my place which might have only eight to 10 people in that night. It's a bit unfair."

Greaves, who said two of his April band gigs were  also cancelled at a cost of $9K, thinks he'll be OK in the short term. 

"I'm perfect for a month. But this (Motel) represents most of my income. You don't know how accommodating the landlord is going to be if you can't pay rent," he said.

There is still lots in Toronto that hasn't shut down. Construction projects will continue. Public transit, grocery stores, pharmacies and manufacturing facilities will all continue to operate.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford 
announced Tuesday the first stage of a $300M economic relief plan, with funds earmarked to include 75 more critical care beds, 500 more acute care beds, 75 more COVID-19 response centers and personal protective equipment. 

Federally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Tuesday a package of financial initiatives, including employment insurance supports, direct income supports for those who don't qualify for employment insurance, and a possible tax deadline extension.

Toronto Public Health also encouraged all residents who have traveled outside of Canada, including the U.S., to self-isolate for 14 days.

“We are following the advice of our public health professionals to make sure we are doing everything possible to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and protect our residents,” Mayor John Tory said.