Toronto’s medical officer of health says she has ordered the closure of four hospitality-related businesses in response to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
“These are specific actions to arrest transmission of COVID-19,” Dr. Eileen de Villa told reporters at Toronto city hall Friday afternoon.
“I am acting under my authority to close down these businesses. These are not actions I take lightly.”
De Villa said Toronto Public Health staff were serving the orders on the businesses as she spoke. She said she wasn’t able to identify those businesses because not all of the owners were served.
However, she said there were “several concerning factors” that caused her to issue the closure orders. de Villa said investigators found many people were connected to more than one of the affected businesses, one of which was serving buffet-style food — something prohibited under Ontario government orders.
It was also revealed some staff were reportedly working while they were experiencing illness, adding there were some circumstances where staff were pressured to keep working.
“These factors combined to create a significant risk to efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19,” de Villa said.
“The operators of these businesses were frequently uncooperative with our investigators to the extent our investigation efforts were significantly impeded.”
De Villa said the businesses will be eligible to reopen if the owners can meet a lengthy list of conditions.
News of the closure orders came as de Villa announced a COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Glen Park Public School in North York after two students tested positive for coronavirus.
Mayor John Tory said he endorsed the actions being taken by de Villa.