TORONTO -- The City of Toronto has announced they are cancelling city-operated March Break programs, recreation centres, licensed child care centres and city council meetings due to COVID-19.

The announcement comes as health officials reported another sharp increase in COVID-19 patients in the province.

Speaking to reporters on Friday afternoon, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said that as of midnight all city-run programs and facilities will be closed until at least April 5.

“Today I am making further recommendations because of our local situation to help protect Toronto residents, workers and visitors from COVID-19,” Dr. Eileen de Villa said. “I recognize that these recommendations will result in significant adjustments to your regular routines and they may present challenges for many families and our broader community.”

Programs and facilities impacted by the new enhanced COVID-19 measures:

  • All city-operated March Break camps are closed
  • All licensed child care centres are closed
  • Community and recreation centres, greenhouses, conservatories, arenas, pools, fitness centres and ski hills are closed
  • Libraries are closed
  • City-operated museums and galleries are closed
  • Council and committee meetings are suspended for the current meeting cycle
  • Public consultations are suspended
  • All event permits for civic centres, recreation facilities and parks are cancelled
  • Wedding ceremony permits for the civic centre wedding chambers will be honoured

City officials stressed that emergency and critical services will continue unaffected, including Toronto police, fire and paramedic services, the TTC, water operations and waste management.

De Villa also advised anyone who travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days to self-isolate and avoid contact with others for 14 days.

"I am making these recommendations based on the available science and evidence and in consideration of our local circumstances," she said. "We need to reduce the risk of undetected spread of COVID-19 in people's households, and most importantly, we need to mitigate the impact of this virus and help protect the health of our residents."

In response to this recommendation, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced he will be going into self-isolation for 12 days after returning from a business trip to London, England two days ago. The mayor says he has not experienced any symptoms.

Earlier in the day, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said that he recommends the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings with more than 250 people. De Villa clarified that the recommendation does not apply to public transportation such as the TTC.

“I did call my provincial colleagues. I was advised specifically that mass transit was not contemplated in that recommendation, that it was not meant to be included.”