toronto lockdown rules

Here are the rules for mask usage during Toronto's lockdown

The City of Toronto went into the lockdown phase of the province's tiered COVID-19 framework on Monday, and that means a host of new rules came into effect. 

But while the restrictions on what businesses are allowed to operate have changed drastically over the past few days, the rules for mask usage in the city have only been updated slightly as a result of the lockdown. 

Face masks or coverings have been mandatory in all public indoor spaces in Toronto since early July, meaning anyone entering any kind of business or other public indoor setting is required to wear one, according to the city's bylaw

The bylaw requires establishments to enforce policies to ensure masks or face coverings are worn, and business owners caught not enforcing the rule could face a hefty fine. 

At the end of July, the city also introduced a bylaw that requires masks to be worn in the common areas of residential condo and apartment buildings

Both mask bylaws include exemptions for people who may not be able to wear a mask for a number of reasons, including children under two, people with a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask, people who cannot put on or remove a mask without assistance, and more. 

These enforceable mask rules have been in place in Toronto for several months now, and most residents have become accustomed to them. 

Now that Toronto has entered the lockdown phase, however, the city is actually recommending the use of masks at all times when outside the home, too, including outdoors. 

"When leaving for essential trips, residents must wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult," reads a release from the city published last week. 

So while the official city bylaws (and the provincial order that also requires masks to be worn in public indoor spaces) are concrete rules that are subject to enforcement, the city's statement that residents should wear masks while outside to help curb the spread of COVID-19 is merely a strong recommendation.

In other words, removing your mask to take a breather while walking on the street will not land you a hefty fine — but it's still a good idea to keep it on as much as possible whenever you leave the house.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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