TORONTO — Mayor John Tory is asking Toronto city council to make masks mandatory in public indoor settings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Tory said he would be voting in favour of the temporary by-law recommended by Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa at a city council meeting later Tuesday. He said he expected the by-law would have wide support from the rest of city council.
“We are in the midst of reopening our city, safely restarting the economy with an emphasis on the word safely,” Tory said at a news conference. “So we will continue to do everything we can to keep this virus from spreading.”
As of Monday, there have been 14,270 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Toronto and 1,090 deaths.
Tory said that the order will come into effect in a week’s time, if approved by city council. The proposed by-law would remain in effect into the month of September, timed around a city council meeting so the order could be extended if deemed necessary.
He also noted that the order would come into effect shortly after masks become mandatory on the TTC. That rule will come into place on Thursday.
“We hope there will be more people back on the TTC and distancing will become a greater and greater challenge,” said Tory.
Mayors from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area asked Premier Doug Ford on Monday to make masks mandatory across Ontario.
Ford rejected the idea, so Tory as well as Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown have all announced their intention to make masks mandatory in their respective municipalities.
“We know we are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19, and that we must do everything we can to avoid the flare ups that we’ve seen in other places,” said Tory. “… All of these measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19 right across the GTA.”