Tory calls for mandatory masks in Toronto apartment buildings
Apartments and condos are seen in Toronto, Ont., on April 24, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg
Published Monday, July 20, 2020 3:59PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 21, 2020 9:22AM EDT
Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling on apartment buildings in the city to make masks and face coverings mandatory in residential common areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tory made the remarks during a city news briefing this afternoon and says he wrote a letter to the Greater Toronto Apartment Association urging them to enforce mandatory mask rules in the common areas of their rental residential buildings.
“I am hopeful that the association of apartment owners will strongly encourage its members to adopt a similar policy requiring face coverings in common areas, such as the lobbies, the laundry rooms and the elevators of residential buildings,” Tory said during the press conference.
As of July 7, masks became mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Toronto, such as malls, churches and community centres.
Some people don’t have to wear a mask in these settings, including children under the age of two and individuals with a medical condition that makes it difficult to wear a mask.
“I believe implementing these rules in buildings will help residents protect each other from the spread of COVID-19, especially when you take into account the number of Torontonians who live in residential apartment buildings,” said Tory.
Masks in residential buildings are currently not mandatory under provincial emergency orders or city bylaws.
Toronto Public Health says it continues to strongly recommend the use of masks in all indoor settings and especially in all settings where it is difficult to maintain a physical distance.
Tory says the city could try to create a bylaw to make face coverings a requirement in residential buildings but it is not entirely clear whether the city has the authority to do so on its own.
“...It’s possible we could, based on what the lawyers say to us, do some of these things,” Tory said. “But the very fact I’m saying ‘it’s possible we could’ reflects the kind of legal advice we’re getting which means that there’s not a certainty we could do it. It’s more effective…that it could be the subject of a provincial order…”
The mayor is also encouraging all condo corporations to make masks mandatory in their residential buildings if they haven’t done so yet.
Denise Lash is the founder of Lash Condo Law and represents condominium corporations, which are run by a board of directors. She tells CTV News Toronto that it will be a challenge to enforce mandatory masks in residential buildings.
“They are going to have to hire security guards to make sure that’s enforceable," said Lash. “[If] the unit owners want to pay for these mandated procedures than they can do that but right now corporations have to look at what’s reasonable.”