masks toronto

This is how to deal with people who refuse to wear face masks in Toronto

While Toronto's mandatory mask policy has only been in effect for a couple of days, already it seems many in the city are determined to challenge it. 

On the very day the bylaw came into effect, dozens of anti-maskers from "organizations" such as Hugs Over Masks and Mothers Against Distance (MAD) protested in Yonge and Dundas Square before getting on the TTC. 

And in Mississauga, a man was caught on video going on a racist rant at a T&T supermarket after being told he needed to wear a mask while shopping in the store. 

Countless outbursts of a similar nature have taken place across the U.S. in recent weeks, leading many in Canada to point fingers at ignorant residents south of the border.

Unfortunately, it seems we have nothing to be smug about as Toronto, too, has its fair share of people who refuse to wear a mask no matter what the science (or the law) says.

So how do you go about handling the kinds of situations that are likely to arise when some residents just simply won't comply?

According to Toronto Public Health spokesperson and Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vinita Dubey, the bylaw requires every business owner or operator in the city to have a mask policy, post signage about the mask bylaw and train their staff on their policy. 

"Fines can be issued if businesses fail to meet these criteria," she said.

Dr. Vinita Dubey also said it's a good idea for businesses to outline how to address customers who are not wearing a mask or a face covering in their policies to be proactive in handling these kinds of situations.

This way, employees already know how to react and what steps to take should this situation arise.

Meanwhile, Chief Communications Officer for the City of Toronto Brad Ross said it's important to be aware of the fact that some people are exempt from wearing a mask or face covering, including children under two or those with medical or other conditions that prevent them from wearing one.

Those who fall into one of these categories are not required to show proof of exemption and therefore Torontonians should be respectful of anyone who isn't wearing a mask as it may be for medical reasons. 

"The City is taking an engagement, education and explanation approach to this temporary bylaw, followed by enforcement, which will be complaint-based," Ross said. 

He explained that if someone does see continued non-compliance at an establishment and it's clearly not for medical reasons, they can call 311 to complain, but "the City doesn't encourage anyone to confront someone in an establishment who is not wearing a mask."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Toronto has started installing signs forbidding tent encampments in city parks

Guild Park and Gardens feels like visiting Roman ruins in Toronto

A linear strip of Toronto parks has hidden a buried river for over 70 years

Toronto's only suspension bridge is a tiny gem hidden away in Scarborough

How to research the history of your house in Toronto

This is what Toronto looked like in the 1930s

Here's what to see and do on the Toronto Islands

Here's how to make friends and meet new people in Toronto