Masks may soon be required in all common areas of condos, apartment buildings in Toronto
Published Tuesday, July 28, 2020 3:17PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 29, 2020 2:39PM EDT
Masks could soon be mandatory in all common areas of condos and apartment buildings in Toronto, Mayor John Tory announced Tuesday.
At a news conference this afternoon, Tory, Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, and Coun. Joe Cressy, the chair of the Toronto Board of Health, announced new proposed bylaws aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as Toronto prepares to enter Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.
During this week's council meeting, Tory said, city councillors will discuss a plan to make face coverings mandatory in all common areas of condo and apartment buildings, including elevators, lobbies, and laundry rooms.
"Many apartments and condos have already done this or have strongly recommended it to their tenants. As mayor, I have received considerable communication, as I suspect have my colleagues, on this from tenants and residents of condos asking for this measure," he said.
“The Greater Toronto Apartment Association and individual condo boards and landlords have indicated this proposed measure would enhance their ability to enforce it.”
Exemptions would be offered for medical reasons and to children under the age of two.
Another recommendation heading to council this week involves stricter rules at bars and restaurants.
The proposed new bylaw would require patrons to remain seated at all times while eating and drinking, leaving the table only to travel to the washroom, pay a bill, or exit the establishment.
Restaurants and bars would also be required to keep a customer log that records contact information for at least one person in each party. Tory said the information would be shared with Toronto Public Health for the purposes of contact tracing but would be purged after 30 days.
Staff at restaurants and bars would also be subject to employee screening prior to the start of every shift, Tory said.
He added that all the rules in the draft bylaws are "fully recommended" by Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health.
"These measures will save lives and will help us control the spread of COVID-19," Tory said.
The mayor added that city council will also discuss extending physical distancing bylaws put in place at the start of the pandemic.
"These have been important measures to help ensure that social distancing is maintained at parks and beaches and public spaces," he said.
Tory said he would like to see those bylaws extended until at least mid-to-late September, when the next city council meeting will be held.
The proposed new restrictions come ahead of the anticipated resumption of indoor dining at bars and restaurants in Toronto, which is permitted as part of Stage 3.
Public health experts have cautioned that the risk of transmitting the virus is notably higher in indoor spaces and many have expressed concern over reopening indoor spaces at bars and restaurants.
Toronto, Peel Region, and Windsor-Essex all remain in Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan but the premier is expected to announce tomorrow whether the three regions can join the rest of Ontario in Stage 3.
The mayor said the proposed new measures are meant to compliment any orders put in place by the provincial government.
"I know Premier Ford is just as concerned as I am, and as we all are, about a second wave and the disastrous impact that a return to a more stringent lockdown would have on the health of our residents and on the restart of the Ontario economy," Tory said.
"We've seen in other jurisdictions that further reopening can lead to increased outbreaks of COVID-19 and growing case count numbers and we do not want to go in that direction. We have been working collaboratively with the province to strike that balance."