Toronto City Council approves the extension of the City's mask bylaw

Today, Toronto City Council approved the extension of the City of Toronto's temporary mask bylaws until the end of City Council’s June 8 and 9, 2021 meeting. The Mandatory Mask By-law 541-2020, as amended by By-law 664-2020, were both extended, as these bylaws were set to expire at the end of the February 2 and 3, 2021 City Council meetings.

Wearing a mask as part of physical distancing and other public health measures can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks should always be worn when physical distancing is difficult. To continue to protect the health and safety of our communities by reducing the spread of COVID-19, By-law 541-2020 requires everyone to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public settings such as businesses, and By-law 664-2020 requires mask wearing in common areas in multi-residential buildings such as apartments and condominiums. These bylaws will now be in place until 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the City Council meeting currently scheduled for June 8 and 9, 2021.

These bylaws are a temporary and necessary response to the ongoing pandemic. 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.

In 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, 2020. By-law amendment 664-2020 came into effect on August 5, 2020.

The temporary bylaws requiring masks and face coverings in indoor public spaces utilize Council’s authority to legislate for the protection of the health, safety and well-being of persons in Toronto as the city continues to face a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases.

Quotes:

"We are committed to doing everything we can as a City government to fight COVID-19 and help save lives during the pandemic. These bylaws were put in place based on public health advice to help stop the spread of the virus. 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."

- Mayor John Tory

"Right now, we must use every tool we have to keep one another safe from COVID-19 and the highly-transmissible new variants. 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."

- Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health

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