People in Toronto will have to keep wearing masks indoors as bylaw extended into 2022
Masks and face coverings have become just another part of everyday life when leaving your home, a minor inconvenience of living in Toronto that isn't going away anytime soon.
Keep those masks handy, as an indoor mask mandate — initially approved by City Council back in June 2020 — will continue early into the new year after councillors voted in favour of extending the temporary mask bylaws earlier today.
The latest extension of the bylaw follows a recommendation by Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, pushing for a continuation of the measure that requires masks in all indoor public settings like businesses and common areas of condo and apartment buildings.
"Public health evidence shows masks keep people safe and are an important way we can help each other as Team Toronto continues to make vaccination progress," reads a statement from Toronto mayor John Tory issued Friday.
"Right now, while the virus is still active in communities in our city, extending the mask bylaws is the right thing to do. I want to thank the vast majority of people who continue to do the right thing and wear masks when they are out and about in public."
City Council's approval of the extension will keep the bylaws in place until 12:01 a.m. on the first day after another council meeting scheduled to take place in January 2022.
Even then, Toronto may have to endure collectively irritated ears and damp faces for even longer, with de Villa recommending that monthly assessments be conducted to determine the future need for these bylaws.
"Evidence has shown that public health measures like requiring masks in indoor settings and maintaining physical distance have been greatly effective at reducing transmission," said Spadina-Fort York Councillor and Board of Health Chair, Joe Cressy.
"With the ongoing risks of a fourth wave, and in order to proceed with safety and caution, the best path forward for our city is to continue to follow the advice of our Medical Officer of Health and extend our local bylaws that have helped to limit virus spread in our city."
Aside from masks, the extended bylaws also cover health and safety measures within apartment buildings, including mandatory hand sanitizer and the posting of Toronto Public Health signage.
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