Just hours after the provincial government confirmed that “nearly all businesses and public spaces” will soon be allowed to reopen in Ontario, the City of Toronto has announced the extension of a ban on all major events for at least 12 more weeks.
“To continue the progress made in reducing the spread of COVID-19, the City is extending the cancellation of City-led and City-permitted outdoor special events through September 30,” reads a release issued Monday afternoon.
“All outdoor special event permits through to September 30 are cancelled, as well as the permit for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 18.”
Along with the Waterfront Marathon, Nuit Blanche joins the long list of highly-anticipated Toronto events that have been cancelled (at least in physical form) since March in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Casualties of the pandemic event ban to date include the 2020 editions of Pride Parade, Caribana, the CNE, the Honda Indy, the Beaches International Jazz Festival, Taste of the Danforth, Taste of Manila, the Toronto Chinatown Festival, and more.
While all city-led and city-permitted events will be cancelled for the rest of summer and beyond, the City was careful to note in its most-recent announcement that the ban only pertains to “festivals and other large gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the City or other public locations, such as roads, parks and civic squares.”
“This announcement does not include outdoor sport facility permits and other permit activities issued by the City’s Parks Forestry and Recreation division in parks and other City facilities/sites which are permitted in Stage 2 of the Province of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening,” notes the release. “Professional sporting events are also not included.”
The city also says it will “adjust and issue permits in accordance with provincial direction” as emergency orders change, which could be good news for smaller outdoor events once Toronto enters Stage 3.
Toronto and nine other public health regions will remain in Stage 2 on Friday, when 24 regions advance to Stage 3, but if the last stage-to-stage transition was any indication, it could be a matter of days before Canada’s largest city gets the greenlight to further reopen after that.