The City of Toronto and surrounding municipalities say they will do what the province of Ontario won’t. Toronto’s city council has approved a bylaw that makes face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces.
On the streets, in parks and stores in Toronto and its surrounding areas, there are still tens of thousands of people who refuse to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite calls to do so, Ontario Premier Doug Ford will not mandate their use, only recommend it, and he left the final decision up to the municipalities.
Toronto Mayor John Tory disagrees.
"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,” said Tory.
Toronto’s bylaw, and those from other cities, will take effect next week and remain in effect until possibly the end of September. It will apply to all enclosed public spaces such as grocery stores and shops.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said it also puts much of the responsibility on local businesses.
"I want to be clear that there will be no onus on businesses to provide their customers with a mask, but businesses will have the right to refuse customers if they do not wear a mask," Crombie said.
They mayors are also counting on the public, admitting they cannot really enforce the bylaw, but they hope people will get educated about the issue and do the right thing.
Officials said mandating the use of masks is one of the keys to a successful economic recovery. They said if masks can help stop the spread, then more sectors of the economy can reopen.
Local medical officers of health said compliance will have to be about 80% for the mandate to work. They are also again calling on the provincial and federal governments to issue some kind of blanket order to make masks mandatory in large municipalities.