City council to vote on making masks mandatory in Toronto

News Jun 30, 2020 by Jennifer Pagliaro City Hall Bureau

The city’s medical officer of health is recommending that masks be made mandatory in all public indoor spaces.

Toronto city council will vote on a mask bylaw at its meeting today.

The recommendations have already received the support of Mayor John Tory, board of health chair Coun. Joe Cressy and Coun. Michael Thompson, the chair of economic development.

If passed, the bylaw would come into effect next Tuesday.

“This proposed measure makes sense from a health perspective and it makes sense from a business perspective,” Tory said at a morning news conference at city hall.

He said while he understands the requirement of a mask may be a “hassle” for some, he believes most Torontonians will comply.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said they’ve seen that making masks mandatory improves compliance, and that though there is greater risk of COVID-19 transmission in enclosed spaces, wearing masks helps to prevent virus spread.

“I wear my cloth mask to protect you and you wear one to protect me,” she said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Though officials had hoped mandatory mask rules would be implemented by the province, GTHA mayors met yesterday to discuss a regional response. On Tuesday, mayors from across the region started making their own announcements.

“In the city of Toronto we will not delay,” Cressy said.

The city solicitor has said in a report already tabled at council that the province “would be in the best position to mandate the wearing of non-medical masks by the general public under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,” but that the city had the legal authority to make requirements for health and safety if recommended by Toronto Public Health.

Premier Doug Ford has previously said that enforcing mask use was up to municipal governments and that it would be difficult to implement such rules across the province.

“You just can’t enforce it. You go up to the rural areas way up north, and there’s no cases (of COVID-19), as much as we can tell and … they aren’t wearing masks. I encourage everyone, but we just can’t enforce it,” said Ford .

Masks are already mandatory on the TTC starting July 2, with the expectation that the public transit agency will distribute masks to those who don’t already have one to encourage compliance and provide materials to those in lower-income communities. The use of masks on the TTC will not be enforced, officials have said.

A similar bylaw was expected to be made in Peel Region Tuesday.

Toronto’s bylaw is meant to make masks mandatory in businesses like grocery stores and will not apply to children under 2 or those who can’t wear masks for medical reasons.

There are other exceptions. For example, the rules are not meant to apply to settings like day care, de Villa said.

As for penalties, Tory said he didn’t think there would be enforcement blitzes. He did not say what penalties might apply to businesses who don’t ensure masks are worn in their stores.

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags

City council to vote on making masks mandatory in Toronto

News Jun 30, 2020 by Jennifer Pagliaro City Hall Bureau

The city’s medical officer of health is recommending that masks be made mandatory in all public indoor spaces.

Toronto city council will vote on a mask bylaw at its meeting today.

The recommendations have already received the support of Mayor John Tory, board of health chair Coun. Joe Cressy and Coun. Michael Thompson, the chair of economic development.

If passed, the bylaw would come into effect next Tuesday.

“This proposed measure makes sense from a health perspective and it makes sense from a business perspective,” Tory said at a morning news conference at city hall.

He said while he understands the requirement of a mask may be a “hassle” for some, he believes most Torontonians will comply.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said they’ve seen that making masks mandatory improves compliance, and that though there is greater risk of COVID-19 transmission in enclosed spaces, wearing masks helps to prevent virus spread.

“I wear my cloth mask to protect you and you wear one to protect me,” she said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Though officials had hoped mandatory mask rules would be implemented by the province, GTHA mayors met yesterday to discuss a regional response. On Tuesday, mayors from across the region started making their own announcements.

“In the city of Toronto we will not delay,” Cressy said.

The city solicitor has said in a report already tabled at council that the province “would be in the best position to mandate the wearing of non-medical masks by the general public under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,” but that the city had the legal authority to make requirements for health and safety if recommended by Toronto Public Health.

Premier Doug Ford has previously said that enforcing mask use was up to municipal governments and that it would be difficult to implement such rules across the province.

“You just can’t enforce it. You go up to the rural areas way up north, and there’s no cases (of COVID-19), as much as we can tell and … they aren’t wearing masks. I encourage everyone, but we just can’t enforce it,” said Ford .

Masks are already mandatory on the TTC starting July 2, with the expectation that the public transit agency will distribute masks to those who don’t already have one to encourage compliance and provide materials to those in lower-income communities. The use of masks on the TTC will not be enforced, officials have said.

A similar bylaw was expected to be made in Peel Region Tuesday.

Toronto’s bylaw is meant to make masks mandatory in businesses like grocery stores and will not apply to children under 2 or those who can’t wear masks for medical reasons.

There are other exceptions. For example, the rules are not meant to apply to settings like day care, de Villa said.

As for penalties, Tory said he didn’t think there would be enforcement blitzes. He did not say what penalties might apply to businesses who don’t ensure masks are worn in their stores.

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags

City council to vote on making masks mandatory in Toronto

News Jun 30, 2020 by Jennifer Pagliaro City Hall Bureau

The city’s medical officer of health is recommending that masks be made mandatory in all public indoor spaces.

Toronto city council will vote on a mask bylaw at its meeting today.

The recommendations have already received the support of Mayor John Tory, board of health chair Coun. Joe Cressy and Coun. Michael Thompson, the chair of economic development.

If passed, the bylaw would come into effect next Tuesday.

“This proposed measure makes sense from a health perspective and it makes sense from a business perspective,” Tory said at a morning news conference at city hall.

He said while he understands the requirement of a mask may be a “hassle” for some, he believes most Torontonians will comply.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said they’ve seen that making masks mandatory improves compliance, and that though there is greater risk of COVID-19 transmission in enclosed spaces, wearing masks helps to prevent virus spread.

“I wear my cloth mask to protect you and you wear one to protect me,” she said at Tuesday’s press conference.

Though officials had hoped mandatory mask rules would be implemented by the province, GTHA mayors met yesterday to discuss a regional response. On Tuesday, mayors from across the region started making their own announcements.

“In the city of Toronto we will not delay,” Cressy said.

The city solicitor has said in a report already tabled at council that the province “would be in the best position to mandate the wearing of non-medical masks by the general public under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,” but that the city had the legal authority to make requirements for health and safety if recommended by Toronto Public Health.

Premier Doug Ford has previously said that enforcing mask use was up to municipal governments and that it would be difficult to implement such rules across the province.

“You just can’t enforce it. You go up to the rural areas way up north, and there’s no cases (of COVID-19), as much as we can tell and … they aren’t wearing masks. I encourage everyone, but we just can’t enforce it,” said Ford .

Masks are already mandatory on the TTC starting July 2, with the expectation that the public transit agency will distribute masks to those who don’t already have one to encourage compliance and provide materials to those in lower-income communities. The use of masks on the TTC will not be enforced, officials have said.

A similar bylaw was expected to be made in Peel Region Tuesday.

Toronto’s bylaw is meant to make masks mandatory in businesses like grocery stores and will not apply to children under 2 or those who can’t wear masks for medical reasons.

There are other exceptions. For example, the rules are not meant to apply to settings like day care, de Villa said.

As for penalties, Tory said he didn’t think there would be enforcement blitzes. He did not say what penalties might apply to businesses who don’t ensure masks are worn in their stores.

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags