Mississauga keeps mask rules in place despite Ontario's lifting of mandate
Ontario officially lifted its controversial mask mandate on Monday morning, meaning that people are no longer required by provincial law to cover their faces in all but a few high-risk indoor public settings.
But, while general masking requirements are gone provincewide as of March 21, individual cities and public health regions still have the power to enforce their own masking rules under a Section 22 order.
No such move has been ordered in Toronto, where anyone can now enter most businesses bare-faced for the first time in 17 months. Mississauga, on the other hand... well, I'd advise against tossing out all of your masks just yet if you plan on venturing west of the 427 and Etobicoke Creek.
"Do you need to wear a mask in Mississauga today? Yes, you do. Our Mandatory Mask By-law — which requires masks in public, indoor places — remains in effect until March 31," clarified the province's third-most-populous city on Twitter this week.
"City Council will be making a decision this Wednesday whether to lift the Mandatory Mask By-law early."
Do you need to wear a mask in Mississauga today?— City of Mississauga (@citymississauga) March 21, 2022
Yes, you do.
Our Mandatory Mask By-law - which requires masks in public, indoor places - remains in effect until March 31.
City Council will be making a decision this Wednesday whether to lift the Mandatory Mask By-law early. pic.twitter.com/pJB6kVtQZc
Mississauga City Council is indeed scheduled to meet on March 23, where they will discuss scrapping a current bylaw that keeps masking in place until the end of March.
It's looking likely that they'll move forward in lifting the mask bylaw eight days early to align with Ontario and neighbouring cities, though it's of note that some councillors have expressed concern over the move, going so far as to suggest that Mississauga keep mask mandates in place even longer, beyond March 31.
Peel Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh expressed support for removing mask rules in a letter last week, writing that "we recommend the lifting of the Mandatory Masking By-laws for the City of Brampton, City of Mississauga and Town of Caledon that are set to expire in the coming weeks."
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said similarly when asked about the mask bylaw during a recent press conference that she anticipated "the decision will be to align with the Province and lift the mandate."
In the meantime, the City of Mississauga told Global News this week that it won't actually be penalizing anyone for not wearing a mask in the coming days.
"Regarding fines and enforcement, we will respond to any complaints, as we have done throughout the pandemic, but will not be proactively enforcing the mandatory mask by-law given the current circumstances," wrote officials in a statement.
"Where possible, we always opt to educate-first before fines are issued."
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