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Toronto Public Health calls social bubble ineffective as COVID-19 cases spike

Last Updated Sep 28, 2020 at 5:35 pm EDT

As the city reports a single-day increase above 300 COVID-19 cases, led by the City’s top doctor, Toronto Public Health says it will table recommendations that could see bars and restaurants implement changes.

Eileen de Villa says she will issue instructions to City Council, such as reducing total number of patrons inside bars and restaurants from 100 to 75, getting contact information from each patron and not just one per table, and reducing the number of people at each table from 10 to 6.

“As your medical officer of health, I am acting to implement new actions as swiftly as possible that reflect the seriousness in the infection levels that we’re seeing. Where I can act on my own authority, I will,” she said.

De Villa says she doesn’t want people to have a false sense of security, adding that COVID-19 is linked to a wide range of locations; not just bars and restaurants.

“Is there evidence that bars and restaurants can contribute to spread? Yes, obviously. If a venue isn’t following requirements expected of them, higher risk results,” de Villa said.

“The most important thing to know is that you get COVID-19 from people, not from places. In a big city like ours, people are everywhere. In that respect, we have to acknowledge that the extent of the infection spread means that the concept of the bubble, or social circle, no longer reflects the circumstance of which we live.”

De Villa says the bubble was, and may no longer be an effective model for safely establishing contact between people but with reopening, and a return to school, she says times have changed.

“I’ll end by repeating what I said at the beginning of my remarks: there’s an immediate, rising risk in Toronto of continued and significant COVID-19 resurgence.”


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