Toronto makes face masks mandatory indoors

People sit on an outdoor patio in Toronto on Wednesday

De Villa said she made the recommendation to help Toronto move from Stage 2 of the province's reopening plan to Stage 3.

The City said the bylaw will expire at 12:01 a.m. after the first council meeting following the summer break, which is now scheduled for September 30 and October 1, unless it is extended by council. It may take you out of your comfort zone.

The bylaw was written on the recommendation of Toronto's medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa. "Our experience has been that Torontonians are interested in protecting our city and protecting their families, their neighbours, their friends and we see this as the next logical step".

As well, when asked last week about making masks mandatory across the province, Premier Doug Ford said it would be too hard to enforce, especially in areas in the north that have not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

She said masks will help indoor spaces - most of which had been closed during the earlier stages of the pandemic - stay safe.

More than 14,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Toronto, while almost 35,000 people in the province have tested positive since the virus touched down in Canada. Risk of infection is higher indoors than outdoors, she said. It would also not apply to child-care centres.

Speaking with reporters, Mayor John Tory said that the idea is to place "a lot of the responsibility" on businesses by mandating that they have a policy requiring the wearing of face masks on their premises.

At the same time, Tory said that it is up to every business to have a policy in place to ensure compliance, suggesting a "no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service" model.

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The mayor admitted there would not be "aggressive enforcement" when it comes to the mask policy, but rather his government will focus on education. "To be candid about it, we don't have the resources to go around and look in every store, look at every person". "We are going to rely on people by and large to get educated and to do the right thing".

Masks won't be mandatory just on the TTC.

A similar bylaw was expected to be passed in Peel Region later this week, officials announced Tuesday.

When will the bylaw take effect?

"I encourage and compliment the regions that are doing it. but Toronto and Peel are different than Kenora and Rainy River. So that's the golden rule", said Ford.

"It's apples and oranges, so each public health area will have the authority to put in either two ways".

The new temporary bylaw was approved at a meeting Tuesday and will come into force next week.

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