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Halton Regional Council voted today (with one Nay) to rescind its mask bylaw effective March 21, based on the recommendation from our medical officer health.
The City of Burlington’s mask bylaw is still in effect. City Council will vote on our bylaw March 22. We will take an educational approach to enforcement in the interim.
Masks are still required by provincial regulations till at least April 27 on public transit, long term care and congregate living settings. Hospitals also require masks and some businesses or other settings may continue to do so.
City staff will also continue to be required to wear masks in our facilities per recommendations from the Ministry of Labour.
Please continue to carry a mask with you in case you are entering a setting where you are required to wear one, or may choose to do so. Public health officials are recommending that residents continue to wear masks.
Please be kind, compassionate and respectful of others regarding mask wearing, including those who continue to wear masks even if not legally required.
Read the Halton Region press release here, and My Take below.
Our community is not unanimous on removing the bylaw, Regional Council wasn’t, and Burlington City Council likely won’t be next week either.
These are not easy decisions, nor taken lightly. I have valued the extra time and discussion afforded by not rushing to make a decision on our mask bylaw.
In all of our decisions, we are guided by recommendations from our Regional Medical Officer of Health, and staff team at the Region, who recommended lifting the bylaw.
I believe it would have been beneficial to wait several weeks after March break to see what health indicators are doing, given they are already starting to go in the wrong direction.
Ultimately, though, it became clear to me that the bylaw had become very difficult to enforce when all others are removing it, and health officials are recommending it be removed. Keeping the bylaw would have placed an extra burden of enforcement on our frontline workers in retail, grocery and other settings. This is especially challenging for them, after already experiencing two years of significant hardship during the pandemic lockdowns, and at a time the community is increasingly divided over masks.
That said masks are still recommended by public health officials to be voluntarily worn in most settings. Please carry a mask with you even after the bylaws are lifted, as there may be areas you are still required to wear one (as noted above), or out of respect for others, may choose to wear one.
Mostly, please be kind and compassionate to one another, and respect the choices of others on mask wearing, including those who may continue to wear a mask even after not legally required to do so.