A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable, and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of COVID-19. People may unknowingly pass the infection to others because they do not have symptoms (asymptomatic) or have not yet developed symptoms (pre-symptomatic). The highest risk for infection is with prolonged close contact.
The new bylaw will require businesses to adopt a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn in indoor public spaces under their control. The new bylaw will apply to all indoor spaces that are openly accessible to the public, including grocery stores, community centres, libraries, etc.
The bylaw will include exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other reasonable accommodations. The bylaw will also permit the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity. The bylaw will not apply to apartment buildings and condominiums, child care facilities and schools, and areas that are not enclosed (i.e. restaurant patios).
This new bylaw will expire at 12:01 a.m. 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. The Medical Officer of Health will review the recommendations regarding masks and face coverings on a monthly basis and report if any changes are required before September 30.
The full City Council decision is available online here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do….
City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health staff are in the process of creating updated signage and guidelines to support businesses. Initial enforcement of the bylaw will focus on education and otherwise be complaint-based.
Additional information is available online here:
Mask or face coverings are already mandatory on the City ferry 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.
Face masks and coverings do not replace the need to keep a distance of two metres or six feet from others, wash hands often, and stay home when sick. A fact sheet on how to properly and safely wear and care for a non-medical mask is available online: