Toronto officially makes masks mandatory in common areas of residential buildings
It's a big day for Toronto, as the province has finally announced that the city can enter Stage 3 of reopening this Friday after five long weeks in Stage 2.
But with new privileges come new responsibilities and city council just voted to introduce several new safety measures in the city as we proceed into Stage 3 — including mandatory mask usage in common areas of residential condo and apartment buildings.
Earlier today, city council voted to enact a temporary bylaw requiring all owners or operators of apartment buildings and condominium corporations to have a policy to ensure masks or face coverings be worn by individuals in the enclosed common spaces, such as lobbies, elevators and laundry rooms.
To help keep people safe in apartment buildings and condos, Council has approved a new temporary bylaw requiring masks or face coverings in common areas, like lobbies and elevators.— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) July 29, 2020
Just like the city's mask bylaw for indoor public spaces, this rule includes exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, children under two years old, and other reasonable accommodations.
Buildings' policies must also include corresponding signage to inform residents of the rule, and staff must receive training on the requirements of the bylaw.
Residents will not, however, be denied access to their unit if they do not have a mask on hand.
Mayor John Tory began advocating for mandatory masks in condos and apartments a little over a week ago, writing to the Greater Toronto Apartment Association to urge them to have mandatory mask rules for the common areas of all their rental residential buildings.
"I know that many tenants want to make sure the common areas in their buildings are as safe as possible, and in that regard they have been communicating with me and asking me questions through the media about the putting in place of such a mask policy," he said at the time.
"I believe that implementing these rules in buildings will help residents protect each other from the spread of COVID-19, especially when you take into account the number of Torontonians who live in rental residential apartment buildings."
A few days later, he hinted that a bylaw to enforce this could be coming if condos and apartment buildings didn't comply.
And while some buildings certainly did take initiative and implemented their own policies, the new bylaw will ensure that mask usage within enclosed residential common areas is consistent across the board.
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