Despite widespread vaccination availability and even the U.S. CDC saying that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, Toronto has decided to cancel an entire summer's worth of social functions.
The city has cancelled "all major in-person events for a second straight summer," CBC reported on Friday.
As the city continues to fight off large numbers of Covid cases during the pandemic's third wave (whatever that even means at this point), it has made cancellations all the way through Labour Day. Previously, provincial officials had been hoping for normalcy beginning in July or August.
That doesn't look like it's going to be the case. The city has cancelled events like the Canadian National Exhibition, Taste of the Danforth, the Caribbean Carnival and Salsa in Toronto.
The city is making the decision in May because organizers asked for "as much advanced notification as possible". So now they have it: Toronto will officially have nothing going on during the summer.
Mayor John Tory said that he thought the city would be in better shape by late summer, but he wasn't sure it would be safe to be "shoulder to shoulder" with large groups of people.
Darrell Brown, Executive Director of the Canadian National Exhibition called the news "devastating for the community and staff" who will now face layoffs. "At this point in time we're living on borrowed money in the short-term and will be completely out of funds by December," he said. The event has lost more than $70 million in revenue over the course of the pandemic and it generates $128 million for the Ontario economy each year.
Last year was the first time the event was closed since World War II. Despite asking the government for relief, it has only gotten $20,000 from Ontario's small business relief fund.
Tory said: "I am working with the Canadian National Exhibition to help the fair through this difficult year and prepare for a bigger and better in-person event in 2022."
Toronto, meanwhile, has delivered 1.6 million doses of Covid vaccines. The city's population stands at about 3 million. Despite this, the city's stay at home order will remain in place until "at least" June.