Last updated: August 8, 2020 at 11:34 a.m.

The response to the current COVID-19 pandemic around the world has been dynamic and based on the best advice from public health experts. New legislation and bylaws have been put in place which have not existed in the past.



Mayor John Tory signed an emergency order No. 1 (April 2) and emergency order No. 2 (April 3) regulating physical distancing in City of Toronto parks and public squares. The temporary amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 608, Parks, and Chapter 636, Public Squares required by these two emergency orders were implemented by By-law 322-2020, and By-law 323-2020. City Council have extended the expiry of these temporary amendments to physical distancing in City of Toronto parks and public squares, to at 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the completion of the first Council meeting following summer recess (currently scheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020), unless extended by Council (By-law 666-2020).

On April 1, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued a Class Order:

  • The following individuals are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to self-isolate (at home or in an isolation facility) for 14 days:
    • All individuals with COVID-19 who are not hospitalized
    • All individuals with signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or who are waiting for their test results
    • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has the signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Anyone who is not subject to the Class Order or has not recently returned from travel, is strongly directed to avoid non-essential trips in the community and avoid close contact with others.
  • People returning from international travel must stay home (an existing federal order)

Anyone over the age of 70, as the Province announced, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible.


Toronto City Council approved a temporary by-law that requires masks or face coverings be worn in common areas in apartments and condominiums through temporary provisions under Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing.

Under the new by-law, building owners or operators are required to have a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn by individuals in enclosed common spaces, such as lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms, and post corresponding signage.

Building owners or operators should also provide hand sanitizer in common areas, keep non-essential common areas closed and clean frequently-touched surfaces.

Visit the RentSafeTO for Building Owner page for full details.


To protect the health, safety and well-being of our communities, Toronto City Council voted unanimously in favour of a temporary by-law requiring operators of premises to establish policies requiring masks or face coverings be worn in all enclosed public places as of July 7 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. On July 29, Toronto City Council approved an amendment to the temporary by-law requiring, in addition, masks or face coverings be worn in common areas in apartments and condominiums.

Read about the mandatory mask or face covering by-law.

These measures heed advice from the Medical Officer of Health, that City Council use its authority to legislate for the protection of the health, safety and well-being of persons in Toronto to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by requiring businesses and other facilities that are open to the public as well as apartments and condos to have a policy that ensures masks or face coverings are worn in the enclosed spaces under their control.

This temporary by-law will expire at 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the completion of the first Council meeting following summer recess (currently scheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020), unless extended by Council.

Toronto City Council approved temporary amendments under the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing for food and drink establishments, which include:

  • Ensuring all customers remain seated at all times except when entering or exiting, using the washroom, or paying
  • Separating tables by at least two metres (six feet) or have plexiglass or other impermeable barriers separating them
  • Maintaining customer logs that include the name(s) and contact information for each party
  • Keeping customer logs for 30 days, providing logs to Toronto Public Health upon request for contact tracing purposes, and securely discarding after 30 days
  • Posting signage at all entrances to the premises to identify the necessity of keeping customer logs for contact tracing purposes
  • Establishing staff screening protocols
  • Limiting indoor capacity in restaurants and bars to a maximum of 100 people (provided physical distancing can be maintained)
  • Limiting the number of customers who may be seated at the same table, to a maximum of 10 customers per table
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of amenities, equipment, and devices as necessary

For more information, read Toronto Public Health’s guidance for restaurants, bars and other food services premises.

A COVID-19 Enforcement Team will enforce:

  • the City’s physical distancing by-law amendments for parks and public squares (By-law 322-2020 and By-law 323-2020, as amended by By-law 343-2020 and By-law 666-2020)
  • the City’s mandatory mask or face covering by-laws (By-law 541-2020?and By-law 664-2020)
  • the City’s Licensing by-law amendments for food and drink establishments (By-law 665-2020)
  • provincial orders on the size of gatherings
  • the provincial Stage 3 order for reopening businesses, facilities and venues

Fines for violating a provincial order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act or the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 can range from $750 to $100,000, including up to one year in jail and $10,000,000 for a corporation.

The enforcement team will be responding to complaints and proactively patrolling, in an effort to ensure public understanding of orders and bylaws.

If you feel that you were wrongly ticketed, you have the option of requesting an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor and challenging it in court. You can do this by:

  • requesting an early resolution meeting: Persons who received a ticket can request an early resolution meeting online using the online Court Case Look Up or by selecting the early resolution meeting option on their ticket and mailing it to the court address indicated on the back of the ticket. The City will send notices of early resolution meetings by mail or email to the address on file with the court.?If the meeting with a prosecutor does not result in a resolution, the matter will be set down for trial at a later date.
  • requesting a trial: All limitations periods and the time to request a trial have been temporarily suspended with the closure of the Courts. Anyone wanting to dispute a ticket and request a trial can now submit a Notice of Intention to Appear form by email or by mail. This change applies to tickets issued on or after March 1, 2020. The information on the ticket that requires a person to attend a court office in person to file a trial request may be disregarded.

All of the required Provincial Offences Act court forms are available on the City’s website. Completed forms can be emailed to or mailed to the address indicated on the back of the ticket.

Once the trial date is scheduled, you will receive a notice by mail of the time and place for your trial. The Court will conduct a trial to decide whether you committed the offence that gave rise to the ticket being issued.