The extension of two bylaws calling for mandatory masking in enclosed spaces where people from different households cannot practise social distancing is meeting with varied reactions.
City council voted on Oct. 1 to leave the bylaws in place until council meets in early 2022.
The novel has met with some but not unanimous approval.
“I think our interests were considered by extending masking,” said Chris Cousineau, owner of the Annex-based Sweet Pete’s Bicycle Shop. “We are not yet ready to remove our masks. Having the city mandate helps us. It would be harder to enforce it if it was just our policy.”
Mayor John Tory said he expects most people to follow the bylaws.
“I want to thank the vast majority of people who continue to do the right thing and wear masks when they are out and about in public,” Tory said during a press conference after council’s vote.
“I haven’t seen any effect on our business from masking,” Couysineau said. “Customers and staff feel safe, and no one has had any issue with wearing a mask.”
Nonetheless, some people find legally enforced mask use to be a violation of their “civil liberties” and also are skeptical of how effective masks are.
Psychiatrist Steven Taylor said that there is a type of person who is against both masks and vaccinations, wants a healthier economy, wants to end social distancing, and is conservative.
Those supporting mask use have their opponents.
In the United States, after the Centre for Disease Control advised people to wear masks, former American president Donald Trump said, “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”
In Toronto, the recommendation for extending enforced mask use came from the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa.
COVID-19 remains a serious problem in Toronto. The Delta variant spreads two times as easily and is two to three times as dangerous, compared to the original COVID-19 virus.
One of the bylaws, 664, states that people in apartment buildings and condominiums need to wear masks in parts of the building accessible to all residents and employees.
The second bylaw, 541, specifies that people operating establishments open to the public must enforce the use of masks for anyone inside the enclosed part of the establishment.