Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks during a press conference in Toronto on February 29, 2020. A report from Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa recommends that Toronto’s city council make masks and face coverings be mandatory in indoor public spaces (The Canadian Press/Cole Burston)

Report from top Toronto doctor recommends mandatory masks indoors

Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Toronto Mayor John Tory recommended that Toronto’s city council make masks and face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19, in a press conference today.

“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,” Tory said this morning.

A report included with the recommendation cautioned that the reopening of businesses will result in more people circulating in the public, and will result in situations where physical distancing will be difficult or impossible.

“The benefits of reopening businesses and services must be balanced, to the extent possible, with measures to ensure the safety of employees and the public,” the report said. “The wearing of masks or face coverings by members of the public is one measure that can be taken to help mitigate these risks.”

The bylaw is set to be discussed by Toronto’s city council later on Tuesday afternoon. 

If enacted, the bylaw will start on July 7, and expire on the day of the first Toronto city council meeting after the summer recess, which is scheduled for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. 

Masks and face coverings are already required when traveling on ferries to Toronto Island Park, and are required in certain businesses such as tattoo parlours and salons, and will be required when traveling on Toronto’s public transit system starting on July 2.

As of yesterday, there have been 14,270 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 1,090 deaths in the city of Toronto.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that there are still hotspots in the country despite the fact that cases are down nationally.

“Though, while we’re on the right track, the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet. As we start to reopen parts of the economy we must continue to follow local public health guidelines to keep each other safe,” Trudeau said.

With files from CBC News and Radio Canada International

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