Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Toronto cancels events into summer 2020

As positive Covid-19 cases continue to grow exponentially the City has decided to cancel all mass events till the end of June. I believe the government made an error in highlighting how minimal symptoms would happen to 80% of people and that young people would barely notice a thing. Combined with limited testing, with or without symptoms, which only minimizes the actual quantity of sick people in society and how fast this pandemic has spread, the politicians can only now throw up their hands and say they can't believe people don't stay home.

The spread of the coronavirus also appears to happen easier than what they first told us; droplets can go 27 feet, microdroplets can last in the air for a long time and they still say not to wear masks unless you are sick, which seems just wrong. Finally everyone but restaurant and bar staff seem essential and almost everyone that physically has to get to work is forced into enclosed subways and buses, or walking around grocery stores where people do not social distance correctly. It is a recipe for disaster that is happening right in front of our eyes and soon they will probably about face and say that everyone should wear masks and gloves. One positive is the use of plasma from people that have recovered to treat people suffering with the virus.

When cases keep increasing the next step is a lockdown which has already happened in Spain, Italy, France, India, the UK and many other countries already. Italy entered a country wide lockdown on March 11 with over 10,000 cases and 633 dead - which could be by mid-April in Toronto? Anyways, here is the March 31st City of Toronto press release tightening the restrictions on people after the cat is out of the bag and next to you in the toilet paper section, hoping that the cat will get back in the bag.

Cancellation of mass events through to June 30

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in response to the recent provincial emergency order to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, the City of Toronto will cancel all City-led major mass participation events, festivals, conferences and cultural programs, and all City permits for major mass participation events organized by external groups at civic centres and squares, parks, public spaces (including road closures), City-operated museums and cultural centres through June 30.

The decision to cancel City-led events and third-party permits has been made in consultation with Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, the Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Police Service, Mayor John Tory's office and major event organizers, and supports the directive that physical distancing is critical to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The breadth of the COVID-19 crisis and the City's need to ensure the sustainability of essential services also limits the City's ability to provide the usual level of support to third-party event organizers to ensure public safety.

The City’s decision provides clear direction to event organizers to enable them to make sound decisions in support of public health efforts and their business needs, access insurance, support impacted employees and manage sponsors.

The City urges event organizers to follow Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health’s recommendations of physical distancing as a way to minimize COVID-19 transmission in the community when reviewing their event plans for the upcoming months and make prudent decisions about cancellations. Physical distancing means limiting the number of people a person comes into close contact with, including keeping two metres (six feet) apart from others, avoiding mass gatherings and avoiding crowds.

The end date for the cancellation period will be reviewed every two weeks following the initial announcement and may be extended beyond June 30 in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health and in consideration of the provincial prohibition of organized public events and social gatherings.

The City of Toronto will not be in a position to issue new permits until there is further direction on mass gatherings from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. The City is committed to working with event organizers to mitigate the impacts of these cancellations and to determine potential future dates once the public health crisis is contained and economic recovery efforts are underway. Among the major events impacted by today's announcement are Doors Open Toronto, Indigenous Arts Festival, Pride Toronto, and NXNE Music and Gaming festival."

"While the City recognizes the importance of special events and festivals to the livability and vitality of the city, protecting the health and safety of residents is of primary concern. City staff are working closely with event organizers to help mitigate the impacts of cancellations wherever possible and we look forward to Toronto's festivals and events being featured prominently as part of the city's recovery from the impact of COVID-19." - Mayor John Tory

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