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Burlington City Council Unanimously Approves Temporary Mask Bylaw Indoor Spaces Open to the Public, as of July 20, 2020

COVID-19_Masks

*Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

**Have questions? Head to burlington.ca/coronavirusFAQ for some frequently-asked-questions related to the City’s new temporary mandatory mask bylaw (COB By-law 62-2020).

***On July 28, at Special Council Meeting, Council voted to update mandatory mask bylaw to exempt children under five, remove face shields as substitute masks and other changes.

****On July 15, Halton Regional Council unanimously approved a temporary, region-wide mandatory mask bylaw: By-law No. 47-20

Burlington, Ont. — July 13, 2020 — In an effort to continue to protect the health and safety of the community and stop the spread of COVID-19, Burlington City Council has unanimously approved a temporary bylaw that will make masks or face coverings mandatory in enclosed public places in Burlington, as of July 20.

The bylaw will be in effect until Sept. 30, 2020 unless extended or revoked by City Council.

The bylaw is generally consistent with other mask bylaws whereby individuals or organizations that are responsible for operation of businesses or facilities with enclosed (indoor) space open to the public be required to ensure no member of the public is permitted entry or remains on the premises unless wearing a mask or face covering.

Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani, recommends the use of face coverings when physical distancing could be a challenge and is supportive of municipalities implementing bylaws that aim to increase the use of face coverings as an additional layer of protection to control COVID-19 in the community.

The new bylaw applies to all indoor spaces that are openly accessible to the public, including:

  • retail stores
  • convenience stores
  • malls, shopping plazas
  • grocery stores, bakeries, farmer’s markets (enclosed areas)
  • restaurants, bars (when permitted to open for indoor service)
  • indoor recreational facilities (unless exempted)
  • libraries
  • community centres
  • community service agencies
  • personal service settings
  • churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and faith settings
  • art galleries, museums
  • banquet halls, convention centres, arenas and other event spaces
  • real estate facilities such as open house, presentation centres
  • common areas in hotels, motels and short-term rentals (e.g. lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms)
  • entertainment facilities including concert venues, theatres and cinemas
  • business offices open to the public

Although masks are widely available in retails stores and online retailers, plans are being developed for residents who are unable to purchase their own masks.

EXEMPTIONS & EXCEPTIONS

The bylaw includes exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons including mental health concerns, children under the age of three and other reasonable accommodations.

Children under three years of age should never be required to wear a mask or face covering.

The bylaw also permits the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal or engaging in athletic or fitness activity. The bylaw does not apply to apartment buildings and condominiums, child care facilities and schools, and areas that are not enclosed (i.e. restaurant patios).

Adjusting to the mandatory mask bylaw will take some time. Residents are encouraged to be kind and compassionate with each other, and to approach fellow community members who may not be wearing a mask with understanding and offers of assistance, rather than judgement.

To report an incident of noncompliance, contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

“Many aspects of this pandemic are beyond our control. Wearing a mask is not one of them. This bylaw will represent our City’s and Council’s commitment to utilizing every tool we can find to ensure public safety, to protect our citizens and keep our economy open.” — Councillor Shawna Stolte, Ward 4, City of Burlington

QUICK FACTS:

Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and best place to raise a family. It is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and download the free City of Burlington app.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

The situation around this pandemic changes daily and as new information emerges, we must be ready to respond quickly. We recently learned of our ability to pass a bylaw, and with the support of Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, we believe passing a temporary mandatory mask bylaw is another way to keep our community healthy and safe as we restart our economy and open more activities to the public. Halton Region will also be considering a bylaw on July 15, but we can’t wait. Passing our own helps us ensure the bylaw meets the needs of our local community. There will be exemptions and we will take an educational approach to enforcement, with ticketing as a last resort.

I implore everyone to treat each other with kindness and compassion, and not shame or stigmatize those who have legitimate reasons for being unable to wear masks. This has been democracy in action, based on health evidence and advice. I want to thank everyone who provided feedback. We tried to reflect the support, as well as the concerns we heard in this bylaw proposal.

RELATED LINK:

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600