The Distillery District is now mandating masks for outdoor spaces
Toronto's historic Distillery District is proving itself a leader in COVID-19 health and safety measures by being the first major attraction to require people to wear masks while outside.
Though the neighbourhood's extremely popular Christmas Market isn't running this season due to the health crisis, the new rule applies to those attending its much toned-down Winter Village, a different but equally Instagrammable way to celebrate the holidays in the iconic locale.
Masks are now required when outside in Toronto’s Distillery District. To my knowledge this is the first large outdoor space in the city requiring visitors to wear masks. #COVID19 #Toronto pic.twitter.com/MsKYrHNVTf— Mackay Taggart (@mackaytaggart) November 19, 2020
"Out of an abundance of caution, and given the need to maintain a safe environment, the Distillery Historic District asks all guests, shoppers and vendors visiting the area to wear a mask at all times while on the property to help limit the spread of the virus," the district's management says in a statement.
It adds that the mask rule does not apply to guests seated eating and drinking at tables, much like the provincial guidelines for those dining indoors where that's still allowed.
Complimentary masks will also be provided for visitors who may forget theirs.
And much like everywhere else has done since the dawn of the pandemic, the district has also implemented measures that include ramped-up disinfecting protocols, the installation of hand sanitizing stations, and social distancing signage.
Reactions to the newly-announced mask mandate online have been mixed, with many critical of the move and some vowing not to attend the Winter Village as a result.
A friendly reminder to visitors on our COVID-19 protocols:— Distillery District (@DistilleryTO) November 19, 2020
❄️ Be mindful of others
❄️ Don't crowd common areas
❄️ Wear a mask
❄️ Wash your hands frequently
❄️ Keep 6 feet apart#DistilleryTO
Businesses in the area — known to be a favourite for tourists and locals alike, especially at this time of year — are, like too many, facing a huge financial blow thanks to COVID-19, with the lucrative events they rely upon now cancelled.
Distillery bakery owner Michelle Edgar told blogTO last week that the weeks of Christmas Market in particular usually account for the majority of the year's sales for her, while tourism keeps her storefront running during the summer months.
"The Distillery will still be decorated for the season and we will be offering a wide array of seasonal offerings so we hope this still brings people for a small taste of seasonal festivities," she added.
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