If you’ve been forgoing a mask in recent days as you get out and enjoy all that Stage 2 of reopening has to offer, Mayor John Tory has some news for you: face coverings will soon be officially mandatory in indoor public spaces.
The bylaw will come into effect on July 6 in these provinces: Ontario,Newfoundland and Labrador,Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia,Manitoba .
“We are in the midst of reopening … so we will continue to do everything we can to keep this virus from spreading and to avoid a resurgence of cases like we’re seeing in other jurisdictions in North America” Tory said.
“Wearing fabric masks or face coverings keep you from unknowingly spreading this COVID-19 virus and keeps the people around you from spreading it to you. It is about respecting and protecting each other.”
The onus will mostly fall on stores and restaurants to have a policy for wearing face coverings while in their stores, though Tory adds he hopes compliance will come because individuals “do it because it is the right thing to do.”
“There won’t really be an aggressive enforcement… we’re going to rely on people by and large to get educated — we will help with that — and to do the right thing.”
Though residents were already required to don the protective covering when entering certain businesses, taking public transit or getting on a plane, despite the recommendations of health officials, it seems some have given up on masks as Canada’s case numbers continue on a downward trend and things start feeling a bit more normal.
A number of mayors have been calling for Ontario Premier Doug Ford to implement a compulsory mask policy province-wide, but decided to take matters into their own hands when his team said it “isn’t necessary” — and after learning that regional health units are able to make their own rules surrounding the garment under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Face coverings have been found to be the easiest and most effective way to reduce transmission of airborne viruses like COVID-19, as they inhibit the physical spread of aerosols and droplets released into the air when talking, coughing, sneezing or breathing.
They are, of course, most effective if both parties wear one, especially an individual who may be unknowingly infected.
While mask wearing has long been a common courtesy in countries like Japan — which has fared quite well with the pandemic — citizens of countries like the U.S. have become notoriousfor their refusal to wear one amid the health crisis.