mandatory masks toronto

Here's what you need to know about the mandatory face mask policy in Toronto

Masks are now mandatory in Toronto as everyone is required to wear face masks in any indoor public space.

Recently, Toronto released further details for anyone who has questions about the new bylaw, which has now been enacted as of July 7.

Where do you need to wear a mask?

The onus of the new guideline will be placed on business owners, who must implement and aptly communicate a policy of "no mask, no entry" if they fall under one of the affected types of establishments, which include retail and grocery stores, galleries and museums, churches, and common areas in hotels.

Here are all the places you're now required to wear a face mask or covering in Toronto.

  • retail stores
  • convenience stores
  • malls and shopping plazas
  • enclosed areas of grocery stores, bakeries and farmer’s markets
  • restaurants and bars when permitted to open for indoor service
  • indoor recreational facilities, gyms, and swimming pools when permitted to open
  • libraries
  • community centres
  • community service agencies
  • personal service settings
  • churches, mosque, synagogue, temples and faith settings
  • art galleries, museums, aquariums and zoos
  • banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums and other event spaces
  • real estate facilities such as open houses, presentation centres
  • common areas in hotels, motels and short-term rentals
  • entertainment facilities including concert venues, theatres, cinemas and casinos
  • business offices open to the public
Where are masks not required?

Masks are not required in settings such as hospitals and other health facilities, schools, child care facilities, patios, and apartments and condos including their common areas. The same technically goes for private and public transportation, though rideshare apps and the TTC have their own policies in place for mandatory mask-wearing.

Are there fines for not cooperating?

Interestingly enough, there won't be any strict enforcement of the bylaw, and those who flout it will not actually face any fines.

The City also states that anyone who claims to be exempt from wearing a face covering — e.g. people with certain health conditions and children under the age of two — does not have to provide any type of proof, and businesses must try their best to serve them regardless, up to and including offering alternative forms of service.

Who is exempt from wearing masks?

Many, including: children under the age of two, individuals with a medical condition that make it difficult to wear a mask, people who are hearing impaired, individuals unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance, employees and businesses not open to the public and employees behind a physical barrier.

Are there circumstances when masks can be removed?

People will be able to remove their mask temporarily if it is required to receive a certain service, or "while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity" — despite the fact that indoor gyms and recreational facilities are on the list of places where masks are required.

Can face shields be worn instead of masks?

As for the face covering itself, things like face shields will not be admissible: "The mask or face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gapping," the bylaw reads, noting that the U.S. Centres for Disease Control has not found such accessories to have any benefit in protecting others.

Where else in Ontario are face masks required?

Ottawa and Peel Region and Waterloo have adopted similar bylaws, while Kingston already did so late last month following recommendations from health officials worldwide and studies that show the effectiveness of face coverings in curbing the spread of airborne viruses.

Mayors have been urging Premier Doug Ford to adopt a provincial regulation, but he has said it "isn't necessary" and has left it up to local medical officers of health to decide on whether to impose a rule surrounding mask-wearing.

How long will the bylaw be in place?

It looks as if Toronto plans to continue with the bylaw for some time moving forward.  There has been no date given for when masks will no longer be required.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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