Toronto residents will be required to wear face masks and coverings for another four months after City Council voted in favour to extend the bylaws on Wednesday.
The temporary by-laws, which includes requiring every person to wear face masks or coverings in all indoor public settings such as businesses (By-law 541-2020) and in common areas in multi-residential buildings such as apartments and condominiums (By-law 664-2020 ) were set to expire at the end of Wednesday’s council meeting.
Following the vote, the by-laws are now in place until 12:01 am on the first day after the City Council meeting currently scheduled for June 8 and 9, 2021.
The City says wearing a mask as part of physical distancing and other public health measures can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and they should always be worn when physical distancing is difficult.
In addition to the recommended extension until June 2021, it is further recommended that Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health continue to conduct a monthly assessment regarding the need to continue these bylaws.
“We are committed to doing everything we can as a City government to fight COVID-19 and help save lives during the pandemic,” said Mayor John Tory. “Toronto Public Health has made it clear these bylaws should be extended to encourage people to continue to follow public health measures that will help keep them safe over the coming months.”
Last June 2020, Toronto City Council considered reports by the Medical Officer of Health and the City Solicitor on requiring masks or face coverings in enclosed public places in Toronto.
At the time, the Medical Officer of Health recommended City Council enact a temporary bylaw requiring the wearing of masks or face coverings in enclosed public settings to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. By-law 541-2020 came into effect on July 7 and By-law amendment 664-2020 came into effect on August 5.
“Right now, we must use every tool we have to keep one another safe from COVID-19 and the highly-transmissible new variants,” said Councillor Joe Cressy, Spadina-Fort York and Chair of the Toronto Board of Health.
“That includes extending the City of Toronto bylaws mandating mask usage and physical distancing requirements. While I know we all want this period to be over, these public health measures will help us continue to protect ourselves and others at a time when it’s more important than ever.”
This extension comes on the heels of the City launching a campaign aimed at reminding residents of the municipal bylaws and provincial regulations that require masks or face coverings to be worn in all indoor environments, common areas in multi-residential buildings inclusive.
The campaign — which will run on digital screens in residential apartment buildings and condominiums, online, and on social media — will urge the use of masks or face coverings in enclosed common spaces including elevators, hallways, lobbies, laundry rooms, and any other shared facilities.