Burlington mayor and councillor propose mandatory mask bylaw

 

More cities are moving to make masks mandatory in indoor public spaces and it looks like Burlington might also make masks part of daily life in the city. 

On July 7, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte announced they have jointly sponsored a proposed temporary mandatory mask bylaw.

"We have heard from our community and together we are bringing forward a proposed mandatory mask bylaw for Burlington," the local leaders said in a statement.

The proposed bylaw will be discussed at the July 9 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee, and will go to council for a final vote on Monday, July 13. 

The proposed temporary bylaw would mandate the wearing of face coverings in all indoor public spaces in the city.

"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," Meed Ward said in the statement. 

"It will not be possible to achieve 100 per cent 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."

Toronto has already made masks mandatory in indoor public spaces and the Region of Peel—which consists of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon—is currently working on a mandatory mask bylaw.

"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," the statement reads. 

"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." 

In the statement, Meed Ward and Stolte said they have only recently learned of Burlington's ability as a municipality to implement a mandatory bylaw.

"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." 

In the statement, Meed Ward and Stolte urged residents to be kind and compassionate with one another and remember that not everyone can wear a mask.

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