Visitors to the city’s Distillery District will now be required to wear a face covering, even if they never step inside a store.

The Distillery Historic District announced the new policy in a press release that was sent out on Thursday. They say that effective today all visitors to the cobblestone, pedestrian-only shopping district will have to wear a mask, unless they are seated at a table to consume food or a beverage.

All children under the age of two are also exempted from the policy.

“The numbers (of COVID-19 cases) in Toronto are going up and when we get warm days we are seeing an influx of people just showing up and strolling around so we wanted to take the indoor mask policy by public health, put it in our outdoor environment and encourage all out patrons and employees to wear masks to keep us all safe,” Distillery Historic District General Manager Elena Price told CP24 on Thursday afternoon.

Face coverings have been mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Toronto since July but the policy does not apply to outdoor public spaces.

Several neighbourhood farmers markets did, however, introduce their own mask policies this summer and now the Distillery District is following suit.

Price told CP24 that part of the reason for introducing the mask policy now is the launch of a new “winter village” program that replaces the annual Toronto Christmas Market, which could not be held at the Distillery District this year due to COVID-19.

“Over the past weekend we had about 50 per cent of people wearing masks and 50 per cent not. We want to get them up to 100 per cent to keep everyone safe,” she said.