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Toronto extends temporary COVID-19 mask bylaw until June

Last Updated Feb 3, 2021 at 3:17 pm EST

A construction worker walks past a sign for the Yonge + Rich condo development, in Toronto on Jan. 16, 2021, as Ontario enters its first weekend of a province-wide stay-at-home order amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

Toronto’s medical officer of health says City Council has approved an extension on the temporary mask bylaw until early June.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says the extension comes with the currently enforced, but temporary bylaws that were set to expire today.

These include Toronto’s Physical Distancing in Public Spaces and the Mandatory Mask bylaws.

“Wearing a mask as part of physical distancing and other public health measures can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks should always be worn when physical distancing is difficult,” the City said in a statement.

“To continue to protect the health and safety of our communities by reducing the spread of COVID-19, By-law 541-2020 requires everyone to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public settings such as businesses, and By-law 664-2020 requires mask-wearing in common areas in multi-residential buildings such as apartments and condominiums. These bylaws will now be in place until 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the City Council meeting currently scheduled for June 8 and 9, 2021.”

De Villa says she will also conduct a monthly assessment regarding the need to continue each bylaw.

RELATED: Over 60 charges laid following 1st weekend of stay-at-home order, Toronto police say

“We are committed to doing everything we can as a City government to fight COVID-19 and help save lives during the pandemic. These bylaws were put in place based on public health advice to help stop the spread of the virus,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.

“Toronto Public Health has made it clear these bylaws should be extended to encourage people to continue to follow public health measures that will help keep them safe over the coming months.”

Last June, City Council considered reports by the Medical Officer of Health and the City Solicitor on requiring masks or face coverings in enclosed public places in Toronto.

That law came into effect on July 7.

The temporary bylaws requiring masks and face coverings in indoor public spaces utilize the Council’s authority to legislate for the protection of the health, safety, and well-being of persons in Toronto as the city continues to face a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases, officials said.

Last week, de Villa revealed that between August of 2020 and last week, the City’s 3-1-1 line received almost 2,000 calls about improper mask usage in shared residential spaces.

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