Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy
TORONTO — City of Toronto Public Health vice-chair Karen Pickock is demanding answers from the city and health officials after she was allegedly called names during a recent meeting.
The meeting was held in response to a report from the city’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Committee that recommended Toronto impose a 30-day social distancing rule on the city’s residents who are required to work from home.
The committee met for five hours on Tuesday, April 13, to discuss the issue and to determine where the city should be heading.
At the meeting, several members of the community voiced support for the recommendation, but also raised a number of concerns.
“Public Health has never been asked to make a recommendation to the City and we have never been asked to impose social distancing regulations on the community,” Pickock said.
“We asked the City to report its recommendations on the public health impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the City said it will do so in the next week or so. And then, within the next week, the City changed its recommendation and said that they were going to implement the 30-day rule.”
“That’s the problem here, we were made to believe that they were going to give public health recommendations first, and then, when they did not get the recommendations they asked us to make recommendations.”
“It’s not like we asked them to implement a new policy. We asked them to implement an existing policy that said if people are working or if people are not working, then we’re going to require them to wear a mask,” she said. “All we were asked to do is to make it clear to the community and, as we always do, to the city, that the social distancing rule is temporary and there is no mandate to enforce it.”
Pickock added that the council, as a whole, voted in favour of a public health policy that is already being enforced, rather than making recommendations first.
“They voted in favour of an existing