TORONTO -- Toronto is launching a program that will further promote physical distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic at 100 “hot spots” across the city.

The city has already identified 10 areas it says are witnessing high pedestrian traffic, despite public health advice, as residents lineup outside grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses.

“City staff have worked to identify key hot spots where there are lineups or pinch points on sidewalks that public health and transportation officials have determined need to be addressed to continue to encourage physical distancing and protect overall public health,” the city said in a news release.

The hot spots have been identified as:

  • Carlton Street and Church Street – Pedestrian zone
  • Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian and parking zones
  • Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue – Pedestrian zone
  • Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue – Parking zone
  • Front Street East and Berkeley Street – Pedestrian and parking zones
  • Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street – Pedestrian zone
  • Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian and parking zones
  • King Street West and Spadina Avenue – Parking zone
  • Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street – Pedestrian and parking zones
  • Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue – Pedestrian zone

The CurbTO Program Initiative, developed in partnership with Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services, will see increased space for pedestrians at these locations by using signs to identify the area.

As well, the city will allow delivery drivers to temporarily park for up to 10 minutes “in close proximity” to an essential business to “expedite medicine and food pick-ups.”

“Each location will have unique conditions that will be assessed carefully by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services staff to develop the most appropriate solution. In some cases, city staff may be able to suggest line-up configurations to the business operator that alleviates crowding concerns. In other cases, a temporary curb lane closure may be the most effective response.”

Speaking at a news conference on Monday afternoon, General Manager of Toronto’s Transportation Services Barbara Gray said the city selected the first 10 locations based on information from the public, councillors as well as tips submitted through 311.

“What we’re trying to do now is identify some locations where we believe some intervention would be helpful, that would enable people to queue to get in to businesses but also enable pedestrians to maintain physical distance when they’re trying to go about their business on the sidewalk.”

The city says it is working to establish 90 other hot spots throughout Toronto and is asking businesses who may be experiencing high pedestrian traffic to visit their website for more information and eligibility criteria.

As of Monday, there are 4,973 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, including 2,670 recoveries and 297 deaths.

Of those 2,303 active cases, the city says that 308 patients are in hospital, 104 of which are being treated in an intensive care unit.