Beginning today, masks or face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
On June 30, Toronto City Council voted unanimously in favour of the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw. The measure heeds advice from the Medical Officer of Health, who recommended City Council use its authority to legislate for the protection of the health, safety and well-being of persons in Toronto.
The temporary bylaw requires businesses to adopt a policy to ensure masks or face coverings are worn in indoor public spaces under their control. The bylaw applies to all indoor spaces that are openly accessible to the public, including:
Enforcement of the bylaw will focus on education and otherwise be complaint-based. In extreme situations and where education does not result in compliance, bylaw officers may take enforcement action as required. A ticket issued for an offence under the bylaw carries a set fine of $1,000. The maximum fine under the Provincial Offences Act is $5,000.
Additional information and resources for businesses and facility operators are available at toronto.ca/facemasks.
The bylaw will include exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of two, and other accommodations. The bylaw will also permit the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity. The bylaw will not apply to apartment buildings and condominiums, child care facilities and schools, and areas that are not enclosed (i.e. restaurant patios).
Face masks and coverings do not replace the need to keep a distance of two metres or six feet from others, wash hands often and stay home when sick. A fact sheet on how to properly and safely wear and care for a non-medical mask is available on the City’s website.
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is spread through contact with the respiratory droplets produced by someone who is infected when they cough, sneeze or even when they laugh or speak, including by individuals who may not have symptoms – known as being asymptomatic. Evidence suggests wearing a mask reduces the likelihood of droplets infecting those around an individual.
This new bylaw will expire at 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the completion of the first Council meeting following summer recess (currently scheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020), unless extended by Council. The Medical Officer of Health will review the recommendations regarding masks and face coverings on a monthly basis and report if any changes are required before September 30. The Mandatory Mark or Face Covering Bylaw is available online.
Mask or face coverings are already mandatory on TTC vehicles and premises, the City ferry to Toronto Island Park, and in certain business settings, like salons and tattoo parlours, as prescribed by orders under the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
“I am encouraged by the progress we are making in our efforts against COVID-19 so far. We need to do everything we can to keep this virus from spreading so we can continue moving forward with the reopening of our city. Wearing masks or face coverings keeps you from unknowingly spreading the virus and keeps the people around you from spreading it to you, especially when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. I encourage everyone to look out for one another by doing the right thing and wear a face covering.”
– Mayor John Tory
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit toronto.ca or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CityofToronto, on Instagram at instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at facebook.com/cityofto.