toronto library

Toronto Public Library closing 44 branches due to COVID staffing shortages

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) announced on Tuesday that it will temporarily close 44 branches as of Monday, Jan. 10, due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages. In a press release, the TPL noted that 52 of the largest and most-used library branches will remain open and staff from closed locations will be reassigned to these branches.

TPL’s open branches will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity limits; bookmobile and home library services will also continue at their current service levels, and all TPL online services will remain available.

“These operational changes will enable TPL’s branches, including those serving Neighbourhood Improvement Areas, to continue to offer consistent and equitable library services across the city,” the TPL said in a statement.

The following branches will close as of Jan. 10, 2022: Albert Campbell District (pop-up), Alderwood, Annette Street, Armour Heights, Bendale, Black Creek, Burrows Hall, College/Shaw, Davenport, Dawes Road, Elmbrook Park, Evelyn Gregory, Forest Hill, Fort York, Gerrard/Ashdale, Goldhawk Park, Guildwood, High Park, Highland Creek, Hillcrest, Humber Bay, Humber Summit, Humberwood, Jones, Leaside, Locke, Long Branch, Maryvale, McGregor Park, New Toronto, Oakwood Village Library and Arts Centre, Perth/Dupont, Pleasant View, Port Union, Rexdale, Spadina Road, St. Clair/Silverthorn, St. James Town, St. Lawrence, Steeles, Taylor Memorial, Todmorden Room, Victoria Village, Woodview Park.

The news comes amidst Ontario’s plan to temporarily move the province to a modified step two version of its Roadmap to Reopen, in response to the Omicron variant.

Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 12:01 a.m., for at least 21 days (until Jan. 26), the province will reintroduce a host of new measures, including moving schools online and closing indoor dining and gyms.

According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, with the rapid increase in transmission of Omicron, approximately 1 in 100 cases will end up in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 11,352 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday — a decrease from the 13,578 cases reported on Monday, 16,714 reported on Sunday, and a record-high 18,445 cases reported on Saturday. Out of Tuesday’s new cases, 1,647 were unvaccinated, 445 were partially vaccinated, 9,040 were fully vaccinated, and the vaccination status was unknown in 219 people. The provincial case total now stands at 816,450.

The cities that reported the highest amount of provincial cases were: Toronto (2,480 cases), Peel Region (1,486), York Region (1,059), Durham Region (635), and Waterloo (612). All other local public health units reported fewer than 600 new cases in the provincial report.

The province also reported 10 more deaths on Tuesday (an increase from the 6 deaths recorded in the previous report). The cumulative number of deaths in the province now sits at 10,239.

According to Elliott, 1,290 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 266 people are in ICU with COVID-19. The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 related patients in ICU is 221. In Ontario, 27,570,940 vaccine doses have been administered, with over 148,000 doses administered Monday; 90.9% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 88.2% have two doses.

Ontarians can visit Ontario.ca/holidaytesting for more info on pop-up rapid antigen screening sites.

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario news and here for where you could get rapid COVID-19 tests in Toronto (including a new drive-thru option).

Article exclusive to Streets Of Toronto