Ontario expands mandatory face mask policy to entire province
Amid mounting pressure from medical professionals to tighten restrictions before it's too late, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced several new measures on Friday aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
"As the number of new cases continues to rise, the province is taking decisive action to prevent and stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdown," reads a release from the provincial government detailing the new rules, issued just hours after confirming a new all-time high daily increase rate of 732 cases.
The new measures, adopted through an amendment to Stage 3 reopening regulations, include "mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services."
Like Toronto residents have been doing since July 7, when the city's own mandatory mask bylaw came into effect, everyone in Ontario must don appropriate non-medical facial coverings when visiting indoor public spaces as of tomorrow.
The amendments come into effect on Saturday, Oct. 4, as of 12:01 a.m. and also include:
Additional restrictions will come into effect for the Toronto, Peel and Ottawa Regions, specifically, given their "higher than average rates of transmission."
With the exception of Toronto, which is already lowering the number of patrons allowed in one establishment to 75 as of Oct. 8., the rules include:
"With Ontario's recent alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, our government is taking further action to help stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns," said Ontario's Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, of the restrictions.
"These are difficult, but necessary decisions that are being made to keep people safe, especially our seniors and vulnerable citizens. Everyone must follow the public health guidelines if we are going to stop the spread and contain the second wave."
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