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Burlington Councillor, Mayor Jointly Sponsor Proposed Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte (left) and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.
Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte (left) and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

*UPDATE NOTE (July 8): Halton’s Medical Officer of Health has sent Burlington a letter of support to increase face covering or non-medical mask use in our community: Face Coverings MOH Letter of Support.

**Please see below a joint release issued by Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

Burlington, Ont. — July 7, 2020 — We have heard from our community and together we are bringing forward a proposed mandatory mask bylaw for Burlington. It will be discussed at the July 9 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee, with a final vote at council Monday July 13. The proposed temporary bylaw would mandate the wearing of face coverings in all indoor, public spaces in the City of Burlington.

We have received overwhelming support for a bylaw, and we are aware there are a variety of views in our community on this matter. We welcome feedback from all our residents and businesses as we discuss this important initiative. You can email us or request to speak at the committee or council meeting following the information below.

Our offices have received questions from residents asking why to bring this forward now when our infection rates are among the lowest provincewide. Others have asked why was this not mandated as part of our initial local response to the pandemic. As with so much during COVID-19, our understanding and the information available to us about the virus, as well as the best tools we have to slow its spread, is constantly evolving — and we must be prepared to adapt and respond.

We have only recently learned of our ability as municipalities to implement a mandatory bylaw and quickly determine whether to bring this forward and how best to potentially implement it.

Our understanding of the need for masks has shifted after learning more about the potential for asymptomatic spread of the virus. We need to look ahead and be ready to use every tool available to us as we prepare for the eventual Stage 3 of the Province’s phased reopening. We cannot assume our low infection rates will remain at their current level as more businesses continue to reopen – we cannot be complacent.

As Burlington moves forward with a temporary bylaw, it will take some time for us all to adjust. We must also recognize that not everyone will be able to wear masks. We strongly encourage our residents to be kind and compassionate with each other, and to approach your fellow community members with understanding and offers of assistance, rather than judgement.

Contact and register to speak:

We encourage residents to share their feedback with us at ward4@burlington.ca and mayor@burlington.ca. In addition, you can request to speak (delegate) at the Thursday, July 9 (9:30 a.m.) committee meeting, or the Monday, July 13 (1 p.m.) Council meeting, by completing the form at Burlington.ca/delegate or by emailing the Clerks Department at clerks@burlington.ca.

The public can also read the report online in the CSSRA Committee agenda at burlington.ca/calendar.

Quotes:

Ward 4 City/Regional Councillor Shawna Stolte

“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.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Mandating the use of non-medical masks will help in driving home the message to our residents that wearing one, if they can, will help protect their loved ones and fellow neighbours from this virus. It will not be possible to achieve 100% compliance — nor is it with any bylaw. However, a bylaw will set expectations and assist with a greater degree of voluntary compliance. We know that Burlington residents will continue to do what they can to protect themselves and others to beat COVID-19, as you have done throughout this pandemic.”

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