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Mayor urges Torontonians to stay home as COVID-19 cases rise in the city


Toronto's mayor wants city residents to stay home unless it's absolutely necessary to go out. 

John Tory focused Thursday on a renewed call for people to limit their movements to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Tory said he understands that Ontario's shift to a new colour-coded tiered system for COVID-19 restrictions, as well as measures imposed by the city, may have left people confused as to what they can and can't do. 

The key, he said, was to cut down on interactions with others to limit the transmission of the virus. 

"I wanted to focus today not on the red or the green or the yellow or the Stage 1, 2, 6, 12, purple, none of that stuff – just stay home," Tory said. 

"Take every opportunity to stay home that you possibly can."

The mayor went on to explain that if people have to leave their home for work then they should commute directly to and from their place of employment and not make any social calls or unnecessary stops along the way.

Outside of going to work, only a weekly trip to the grocery store or a visit to the pharmacy for needed supplies were advisable, said Tory.

Dr. Eileen De Villa, the city's chief medical officer of health, echoed Tory's sentiment, telling Torontonians "don't become a case."

"The best way to do that is to follow the steps for self-protection, especially now," said De Villa. "Try to limit your contact to only the people you live with."

The strong message came as Toronto is set to move to Ontario's red zone of tiered restrictions on Saturday while imposing measures of its own that will extend certain restrictions that have been in place. 

Indoor dining  at bars and restaurants will remain closed in the city. Meeting spaces, movie theatres, and casinos in Toronto will also be ordered to remain closed.

Ontario announced a record high of 1,575 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Of those, 472 were in Toronto, with neighbouring regions Peel and York accounting for 448 and 155 new cases respectively.

Tory said his comments about the province's colour-coded system of restrictions were not a criticism of Ontario's policies, but an attempt to simplify them for the average person.

De Villa also unveiled a new automated calling service that will inform people if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. 

The list of phone numbers the automated system would call are generated from contact details of customers kept by businesses in case an outbreak is linked to the location.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2020.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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