Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks during a press conference in Toronto on February 29, 2020. Starting on Monday, Toronto Public Health is going to report specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19. (The Canadian Press/Cole Burston)

Toronto enacts new measures to stop spread of COVID-19 in workplaces

Toronto will begin reporting workplace outbreaks of COVID-19, according to an announcement from Toronto Mayor John Tory on Monday afternoon.

In a news conference, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa explained that starting on Monday, Toronto Public Health is going to report specific details about workplace outbreaks without compromising individual privacy.

She added that Toronto Public Health will update the information about workplace outbreaks of the virus every week on Thursday. 

“These actions are meant to support employment, businesses and the economy during the pandemic by supporting conditions where people can work and do business in safer and healthier circumstances,” de Villa said. 

de Villa also explained that details about workplace related outbreaks will be spread across 11 categories including settings like grocery stores, pharmacies, food processing sites, offices, warehousing, shipping and distribution, construction and manufacturing facilities.

“I believe this kind of transparency and public accountability will help to encourage employers to do everything they can to protect their workers and it will help give everyone a better indication of where the COVID-19 virus is spreading in our community,” Tory said.

Toronto Public Health is also asking all employers and businesses in the city to take on additional actions and measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

Employers must immediately notify health officials as soon as two or more employees contract COVID-19, ensure that physical distancing measures are respected, implement rigorous and frequent cleaning on high touch areas, ensure that heating ventilation and air conditioning systems are subject to regular functional assessments, and minimize instances where more than one person is traveling in a vehicle. 

“With more infection and control measures, with more distance, and clearer lines of accountability, there is greater capacity to manage public health while businesses operate in pandemic times,” de Villa said. 

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