Under the recommendation of Toronto’s top doctor, city council is being advised to make wearing non-medical face masks mandatory in all indoor settings where the public gathers.
The recommendation is included in a report from Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, which will go to council later today. If approved, the bylaw would take effect on July 7.
According to the City, the new bylaw would expire at 12:01 am 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.
“While our COVID-19 cases numbers have decreased this does not mean that there is no risk of contracting the virus in our city,” de Villa said during a media briefing Tuesday morning.
“The reality is that the virus continues to circulate and we still need to be careful. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for all of us to remember that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.”
— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 30, 2020
Mayor John Tory said Toronto has made significant progress in the fight against COVID-19 and the city is now in Stage 2 of the Province of Ontario’s reopening framework, with many businesses and community settings reopening and many activities able to resume with COVID-19 precautions in place.
While gradual reopening is taking place, COVID-19 is still circulating in Toronto and the risk for its continued spread remains. As of Monday, June 29, there was 14,270 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city, and tragically, 1,090 deaths. While the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to trend downward, new cases persist. Because of this, Tory said Toronto can learn from other jurisdictions that have seen a recent rise in cases after reopening.
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks is an inexpensive, acceptable, and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of COVID-19. Modelling studies suggest that if there is a high level of compliance in the wearing of masks, COVID-19 spread can be reduced.
Joe Cressy, City Councillor for Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York, and Chair of the Board of Health, also supports the recommendation, saying, “It’s clear that wearing masks or face coverings indoors can help to reduce virus spread. That’s why it’s time for Toronto to follow our Medical Officer of Health’s advice on mandatory masks in indoor public spaces.”
As we learn more about COVID-19, it’s clear that wearing masks or face coverings indoors can help to reduce virus spread. That’s why it’s time for Toronto to follow our Medical Officer of Health’s advice on mandatory masks in indoor public spaces. My statement: pic.twitter.com/CSn0gz6Ehj
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) June 30, 2020
Masks or face coverings will be required on TTC vehicles July 2 and are already required on City ferries to Toronto Island Park, as well as in certain business settings, like salons and tattoo parlours, as prescribed by orders under the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act
This move comes just one day after a call from mayors throughout the GTHA for a mandatory face mask policy across the province, which was rejected by Premier Doug Ford’s government.