Mayor urges against Black Friday shopping as Toronto sees 481 new cases

·2 min read
Mayor urges against Black Friday shopping as Toronto sees 481 new cases

Mayor John Tory urged Torontonians to avoid big box store shopping on Black Friday as Dr. Eileen de Villa warned that everyone in the city remains at risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.

Toronto is now in day three of a 28-day lockdown intended to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city recorded 481 new cases on Wednesday.

Tory said stamping out the virus hinges in part on people not gathering at large stores and GTA shopping centres that have been allowed to stay open under the provincial lockdown. Instead, Tory said, shop local and shop online where possible.

De Villa, the city's medical officer of health, warned COVID-19 is still spreading in the community. You can watch her comments in the video below:

Earlier Wednesday, de Villa showed city council a map that showed all but a handful of Toronto's neighbourhoods meet at least the criteria for the province's red zone restrictions — the second highest level of restriction.

De Villa has repeatedly said that there are COVID-19 cases across the city, even though some areas of Etobicoke and Scarborough have been the major hot spots. Today, she said there's little stopping the entire city from reaching the red zone thresholds.

"The fact is, rates are alarmingly high in Toronto," she said.

Mayor muses about blocking off BBQ restaurant that keeps reopening

Tory also urged Torontonians who can to order takeout from a local restaurant to support those businesses amid the lockdown.

However, Tory said the book should be thrown at the owner of an Etobicoke barbecue restaurant that defied city and provincial rules and reopened again Wednesday for indoor dining. You can read more about that story here.

Tory said he hopes if the restaurant opens again at 11 a.m. on Thursday, it's shut down by 11:01 a.m, but noted he doesn't direct police. Tory also suggested he's open to the idea of putting concrete blocks in front of the business, like the city recently did with illegal cannabis dispensaries.

The mayor also announced a number of initiatives to make it easier for people to enjoy the outdoors this winter, including everything from toboggan hills and "snow loops" for walking to disc golf courses.

Skating rinks are set to open as soon as this weekend, but they will operate with a cap of 25 due to provincial rules.

Many Torontonians had been calling on the city to ensure there are safe spaces to get outside during the second wave of the pandemic. You can read more about that here.

For more news about Ontario's COVID-19 situation and how the pandemic is being handled, check out these CBC News stories: