Wearing masks will become mandatory in all public indoor public spaces in York Region starting next week.

York Regional Council unanimously approved a mandatory mask policy on Thursday afternoon.

“It's indicative, I think of the commitment that all members of our regional council had in relation to making sure that we're doing everything we can to protect the public during this pandemic,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said.

Scarpitti presented a motion at the council meeting in June to require the use of masks in indoor spaces to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We saw the momentum build over the last few weeks. It was great to kind of close it off with the unanimous support of regional council.”

As of Thursday, York Region has a total of 3,114 COVID-19 cases. Of those cases, 2,533 have recovered while 247 have died.

Those exempted in the policy include children under the age of five, people with underlying medical conditions, and those who are unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance.

The new policy will come into effect on July 17 and will remain until Nov. 30.

Just like other cities, education is the main priority to ensure people wear masks but those who do not comply could be fined, Scarpitti said.

“There are fines. We don't want to go there. We're not going to go out there and actively put police and bylaw people at every corner,” he said.

Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said wearing masks are essential in fighting the spread of COVID-19.

He said the unanimous decision shows how seriously all nine municipalities in the region take COVID-19, which has changed the way people live.

"It was a good day because it spoke to, I think the higher values of what COVID-19 has really inspired in people. That is to recognize that we must take whatever measures are required to make sure that people are protected and that we all feel safe," Bevilacqua said.

"The more we do to the defeat COVID-19, the better off we'll be in the long run."

York Region joins other GTA jurisdictions in making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. On Tuesday, face coverings became mandatory in Toronto.

Masks are also required in all indoor public spaces in Peel Region, starting on Friday.