Toronto’s COVID-19 mask bylaw has been extended into next year.
Toronto City Council approved the extension of the bylaw during a meeting on October 1, the day it was set to expire. It will now be in place until at least January of 2022.
The COVID-19 amendments to a bylaw that concerns apartment buildings have also been extended.
“Public health evidence shows masks keep people safe and are an important way we can help each other as Team Toronto continues to make vaccination progress,” Mayor John Tory said.
“Right now, while the virus is still active in communities in our city, extending the COVID-19 mask bylaws is the right thing to do.”
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, had re-cemented extending both bylaws.
The City noted that the Delta variant is “predominant” in Toronto, and can be transmitted faster in indoor settings, especially among unvaccinated individuals.
Delta is twice as transmissible as the original strain of the virus, and the risk of hospitalization and ICU admission with the variant is two to three times higher.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence has shown that public health measures like requiring masks in indoor settings and maintaining physical distance have been greatly effective at reducing transmission,” said Councillor Joe Cressy, Chair of the Board of Health.
“With the ongoing risks of a fourth wave, and in order to proceed with safety and caution, the best path forward for our city is to continue to follow the advice of our Medical Officer of Health and extend our local bylaws that have helped to limit virus spread in our city.”
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The mask bylaw requires everyone to wear a mask in all indoor public settings, such as stores, as well as in the common areas of multi-residential buildings, including condos.
The COVID-19 amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings require specific pandemic-related measures to be taken in apartment buildings.
These include mandatory hand sanitizer in common areas, increased cleaning, and the closing of non-essential common areas when required under provincial restrictions.
To date, Toronto has seen 178,762 COVID-19 cases and 3,663 virus-related deaths.