Today, Toronto City Council approved the extension of the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 temporary bylaws, the Mandatory Mask bylaw (541-2020 and 664-2020) and the COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings until the end of City Council’s April 2022 meeting.
Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey recommended extending these bylaws based on the current epidemiological trends.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks with the onset of colder weather and as more people gather indoors. Modelling from the Ontario’s Science Advisory Modelling Consensus Tables on December 7 indicated that cases and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions are expected to continue to rise through December and January, putting additional strain on the health care system. Public health experts have also expressed concern that there is potential for the Omicron variant to rapidly overtake the Delta variant, which up until recently, had been the dominant variant circulating in the community.
The extension of the bylaws is necessary to control the spread of COVID-19 and to continue to protect the health and safety of our communities. The City’s mask bylaws require everyone to wear masks in all indoor public settings such as businesses and in common areas in multi-residential buildings including apartments and condominiums. The amendments to Chapter 354 Apartment Buildings also requires apartment buildings to provide hand hygiene stations or hand sanitizer in common areas, closing non-essential common areas consistent with provincial restrictions, increasing cleaning and posting Toronto Public Health COVID-19 signage.
These bylaws are a temporary and necessary response to the ongoing pandemic given COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community. With Council’s approval today, these bylaws will now be in place until 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the Council meeting scheduled for April 2022. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health will continue to conduct a monthly assessment regarding the need to continue these bylaws.
“We introduced the mandatory mask bylaw based on the recommendation of Toronto Public Health to help combat COVID-19. Now as we confront the Omicron variant, we know from public health officials that making sure we are wearing our masks when around others indoors is even more important. These bylaws are a temporary and necessary response to the pandemic to help save lives and protect people. I want to thank the vast majority of Toronto residents who wear their masks when out in public places to help protect themselves and each other.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Since day one, we have followed the science and the experts in our response to COVID-19. We did that when the City of Toronto became the first municipality in the country to mandate masks indoors in the spring of 2020. Today’s decision by City Council to extend the COVID-19 masking bylaws is a necessary measure as we continue to protect the health and safety of our residents. This pandemic will end. Vaccinations will help us accomplish that. In the meantime, we will continue to do everything in our power to keep Torontonians safe.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Board of Health
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