COVID-19 - April 28 Update

Today is the National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace. To honour these workers, all official City flagpoles were flown at half-mast. It is important that all of us take a moment on this day to remember and honour all of those who have died, been injured or become ill through their work. We especially remember and thank those who at this difficult time are working every day on the front lines of the Covid-19 public health emergency.

While this pandemic is challenging for all of us, those facing barriers to internet or cell phone access are made especially vulnerable. Facing isolation, difficulty accessing work and credible information, we need to do more to provide support to those who need it. Through partnership, we are now able to provide free internet access for many vulnerable Torontonians, including in low-income neighbourhoods, City operated long term care homes and shelter sites. In addition, eligible clients will receive a cell phone and data plan. As we see this pandemic change all of our lives, it is important to recognize we are not all impacted in the same way. I am proud that as a city, we have come together to support those in need.

The City understands that this is also a very difficult time for our local businesses, which is why last week, we launched BusinessTO, which offers additional resources, tools and programs that are meant to help businesses respond to the economic impact of COVID-19. From connecting you to a business advisor, supporting you in applying for programs and providing free webinars, there is a wealth of information and resources available.

Our office continues to work to serve you remotely. If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca or by phone at 416.392.7012.

In community,

Ana

Questions from the Community!

Each day, we are working to answer important questions from our community. To keep you all informed, we will feature some of these questions each newsletter. Have a question you think would be good to share? Reach out to us at councillor_bailao@toronto.ca.

What is happening with community allotment gardens?
When the provincial government outlined its list of essential services (amenities and services that were allowed to remain operational/open) community allotment gardens were not part of the essential list. Therefore, these were not permitted to be used according to the provincial ruling. I have received a number of inquiries about this and have been advocating on this issue. This past weekend, the provincial government has now indicated that they have moved community allotment gardens to the essential list which will allow them to be used. They have asked that municipalities to each provide guidance in terms of proper physical distancing and safe practices prior to the re-opening of these community allotment gardens. These are being developed by City staff and should be out soon. Permit holders in the City have also been notified via e-mail about this.

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/4/ontario-allows-the-redeployment-of-staff-to-better-care-for-vulnerable-people-during-covid-19.html

Each year, the City has the public participate in Community Cleanup days. Are they going to happen this year?
Unfortunately, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health it was announced on (24th) that the annual cleanup day will not be able to proceed due to public health concerns.

The City did announce that they will have a targeted spring cleanup by City staff which will be occurring over the next few weeks. This will include cleaning up illegal dumping, boulevard and laneway cleaning, litter and debris removal in parks, etc. This will take staff a few weeks to complete.

Local Updates

What’s Open in Corso Italia?
There are a number of our favourite essential businesses operating in Corso Italia though the pandemic. To keep you informed on who is open and how to contact them, the Corso Italia BIA has created this helpful website. Right on time for tomorrows #TakeOutDay!

Chatting to Wellness
Chatting to Wellness is a youth run non-profit organization that connects seniors residing in retirement homes to university students in the community to chat through weekly visits. Their goal is to provide a safe and comforting environment to spark meaningful conversations to combat isolation and improve mental health.

In response to COVID-19, Chatting to Wellness has launched a program to connect seniors and youths through Online Chatting Sessions conducted over phone calls. The conversations are entirely free and are scheduled between 6PM-9PM Monday to Friday. Seniors can either sign up directly, or have a family member sign up for a call on their behalf by visiting www.chattingtowellness.ca/phonechats.

Safehaven Showing Community Spirit (Donate)
I wanted to give a special acknowledgement to Safehaven, who after fitting their entire staff for masks to keep their clients safe, set up a mask fitting station to offer the service to those working at Community Living Toronto.

Virtual Toronto City Council
In order to make sure the City remains on track with important and pressing business, this Thursday City Council will be proceeding online. You can find the agenda posted here and watch it live here.

Recent Announcements

Municipal

City of Toronto and partners help connect vulnerable populations with internet access during COVID-19 pandemic
The City of Toronto has partnered with technology and telecommunications companies to provide free temporary internet access for many vulnerable Torontonians. These partnerships will provide free access for residents in lower-income neighbourhoods, seniors in long-term care homes and clients in many City-operated shelters. These initiatives will allow more people to connect online to social supports and vital services while still complying with directives to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Toronto updates total COVID-19 cases
As of this afternoon, there are 5,128 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto. Cases include 4,647 confirmed cases and 481 probable cases. There are 319 cases hospitalized, with 109 in intensive care units. We continue to see COVID-19 deaths; to date, 305 people in Toronto have died from COVID-19. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform at toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto.

Provincial

Ontario Helping Businesses Overcome the Unique Challenges Created by COVID-19
The Ontario government is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website. The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario's supply chain.

Federal

Readout: Minister of Foreign Affairs continues to coordinate with international counterparts on COVID-19
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today organized a seventh call with his counterparts from countries affected by COVID-19, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

The ministers agreed that while the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed new challenges on the multilateral system, they underscored the critical role of multilateralism and international institutions in securing the health, prosperity and security of states, including efforts toward finding a vaccine.

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