Just as the City of Toronto receives the green light to enter Stage 3, City Council has voted in favour of making face masks and coverings mandatory in apartment and condominium common areas.
Council voted to approve a temporary bylaw on Wednesday, in order to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The new bylaw, which was recommended by the Medical Officer of Health and City Solicitor, requires building owners or operators to have a policy which ensures masks or face coverings are worn by individuals in enclosed common spaces such as lobbies, elevators, and laundry rooms, and post corresponding signage.
Coming into effect on Wednesday, August 5, the bylaw formalizes last week’s strong recommendation from Mayor John Tory and the Medical Officer of Health for all building owners and operators to proactively require masks or face coverings in common areas.
Like the City’s existing mask or face covering bylaw, the recommendation includes exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, children under two years old, and other reasonable accommodations.
"Today, City Council took further action to make sure we are doing everything we can as a city government to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Mayor Tory.
"This measure for masks and face coverings in common areas in apartments and condos was strongly recommended by our public health professionals. Many buildings have already done this voluntarily but we have heard from tenants and condo dwellers asking for this measure to be mandated. I encourage all buildings to adopt a face covering policy for common areas as quickly as possible to help us continue to protect the health of our residents and fight this pandemic."
To make it easier to implement the policies, the City has created guidance documents and posters that building operators can print off and display in common areas of rental and condo buildings to encourage mask use.
"Torontonians have come together and made tremendous progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our city. The Province has confirmed that we will be transitioning to stage 3 this Friday. This is good news, but it doesn't mean we can let our guard down," said City Councillor Joe Cressy, and Chair of Toronto Board of Health.
"Learning to live with COVID-19 means balancing reopening with safety measures to protect customers, staff, and our most vulnerable. That's why Council will now be considering additional measures recommended by our Medical Officer of Health to help prevent a spike in new cases."
Cressy said this includes helping keep people safe in apartment buildings and condos through the new temporary bylaw requiring masks or face coverings in common areas.
Earlier this month, The City of Toronto made face masks mandatory inside public spaces including retail and convenience stores, malls and shopping plazas, and grocery stores and bakeries, to name a few.