Do not meet with people outside your household, Toronto's top doctor warns
TORONTO -- Toronto’s top doctor says the concept of social bubbles will no longer work in the city and residents need to limit exposure with those outside their household as COVID-19 cases rise to unprecedented numbers.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, made the comments at a news conference on Monday after the province reported 700 new infections, with more than half located in Toronto.
“The most important thing to know is that you get COVID-19 from people, not from places. We have to acknowledge that the extent of the infection spread and the nature of city life means that the concept of the bubble, or the social circle, no longer reflects the circumstances in which we live,” de Villa told reporters.
“It was a sensible approach to exiting the strict isolation and restrictions of last spring. It was an effective model for safely establishing contact between people … [but] times have changed.”
Toronto Public Health announced 381 new cases on Monday, which is the highest daily case count recorded to date in the city since the start of the pandemic.
Guidelines surrounding social bubbles are set out by the provincial government. Ontario currently allows 10 people per bubble, regardless of living in the same household, and social distancing is required with those outside your bubble.
Top doctor proposes new rules for bars, restaurants
The Ontario government slapped tighter restrictions on restaurants and bars this past weekend and ordered strip clubs to close in an effort to crackdown on “outbreak clusters” of COVID-19.
As of Saturday at 12:01 a.m., all food and drink establishments across the province were no longer able to sell alcohol after 11 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on these premises was prohibited after 12 a.m.
De Villa also said that she plans to propose further changes to the COVID-19 rules impacting bars and restaurants in Toronto.
She said she will recommend to city council that only a maximum of 75 patrons should be allowed at a venue and that only six people, rather than 10, should be allowed at a table.
Music, de Villa advised, should be no louder than “normal conversation” at these venues.
“There's an immediate rising risk in Toronto of continued and significant COVID-19 resurgence,” she said.
“What we need you to do is to think carefully about how to protect yourself as you go about your daily activities by limiting contact with people you don't live with.”