Mayor John Tory confirmed that discussions are taking place on how Toronto could eventually be reopened in “an orderly fashion,” following a shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with CP24 on Tuesday, the mayor said he’d participate in a lengthy briefing on the city’s recovery plan this afternoon. He says the plan might include some sort of celebratory aspect to help encourage Torontonians to return to suffering businesses.
“We are planning for it. I don’t want people to think that means it will happen tomorrow afternoon because it won’t but we are very conscious of the fact that people want this,” Tory told CP24. “That is why we are saying please stay home and please stay two metres apart from each other so the day can come sooner.”
While we are planning for the eventual reopening of our city – learning from other countries around the world – the most important way for us to get to that day sooner rather than later is by ensuring that people stay home as much as possible. #StayHomeTO pic.twitter.com/8ydnWKidvS
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 14, 2020
To date, COVID-19 has infected more than 1,887,000 people in more than 187 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Ontario currently has 7,470 confirmed cases and 274 deaths.
On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that he would be extending the provincial emergency order for another 28 days, giving the government sustained power to enact orders, such as prohibiting travel, establishing emergency shelters and hospitals, and closing public and private facilities.
Tory told CP24 that the city has contacted officials from across the globe to see how they are preparing for their re-openings.
“We are watching it happening because we do sort of have the advantage of those people being ahead of us on the calendar,” Tory said. “So how they are doing it, and how it works, but we are also going to see how it works in the context of the health aspects because we are very concerned that we don’t do it too soon, and we don’t end up with a second wave hitting us right away, and then we are back to the sort of lockdown again.”
For some, measures to restore the economy can’t come soon enough, as characterized by a protest outside City Hall in Vancouver on Sunday.
“A massive march against tyranny” Dan Dicks, the protest leader called it in a video he tweeted.
“A number of Vancouverites aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid, and they’re getting out and they’re getting together here to show the world that we’re not okay with unlawful orders and quarantines and lockdowns,” Dicks added.
The vast majority of those that responded on social media indicated, how shall we say, strongly held beliefs that Dicks is in the wrong, including one of Vancouver’s most famous exports actor Seth Rogen.
You’re a fucking idiot. Stay inside.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) April 13, 2020
In other areas across the world where the number of new COVID-19 cases has started to decline, small measures to open economies back up have been introduced.
Italy and Austria, for example, are allowing some shops to reopen (although in Austria, customers must wear masks and continue to observe strict social distancing rules). Spain is allowing for the reopening of some factories, and Denmark will allow children under age 11 to return to school this week. In France, the country’s lockdown will extend until May 11, at which point, primary and secondary schools will be able to start reopening.