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Mask wearing, physical distancing bylaws extended into October; can be revised monthly by De Villa

A server wears a face mask as she takes an order on a terrace at a restaurant in Old Montreal, Sunday, May 30, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Toronto’s city council has extended multiple bylaws, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, but say they can be revised and subsequently modified by Toronto Public Health if COVID-19 circumstances improve into the fall.

City council confirmed Wednesday that the two bylaws, designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and extended until September 30, can be revised on a monthly basis.

As a result, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa can choose to modify these bylaws and in turn, lessen the degree of restrictions depending on how Toronto and the province control the pandemic moving forward.

“City Council request the Medical Officer of Health review the necessity of each by-law on a monthly basis and report if any changes or extensions are required before or at City Council’s September 30 and October 1, 2021 meeting,” they wrote on Wednesday.

The bylaws must be revised before each council meeting. They have been extended multiple times dating back to January of this year.

City council also approved a motion brought forward by Joe Cressy that calls on the Ford government to allocate second vaccine doses to COVID-19 hotspots “in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and across Ontario.”

“Vaccinate the most vulnerable, as quickly as possible. With the Delta variant taking hold, it’s a necessary intervention to beat this pandemic,” Cressy said after the motion passed.

Peel Region’s top health official, Dr. Lawrence Loh, has also suggested the province prioritize COVID-19 hotspots with second doses as the Delta (B.1.617) variant becomes predominant across Brampton and Ontario.

Loh said Wednesday that while Peel Region has made substantial progress in getting first doses into arms, there is a bigger need to get the population fully vaccinated with hopes of greatly limiting the spread of variants, such as Delta.

Ontario, meanwhile, is poised to take its first, long-awaited measure at getting life back to normal as the government announced that it will reopen parts of the economy a few days ahead of schedule and enter Step 1 on Friday.

The move will allow for patio dining at a maximum of four patrons per table and limited non-essential retail shopping to resume at 15 per cent capacity ahead of the upcoming weekend.

The reopening of non-essential retail is street entrance only and stores located inside of malls without a street entrance will reopen to the public in Step 2, now slated for July 2.

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