Mandatory mask bylaw in Brampton raising questions from residents

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As of July 10, the City of Brampton approved a mask bylaw, making masks and face-coverings mandatory in all indoor public spaces. 

This bylaw has left a few of the City’s residents with questions including what exactly counts as a face-covering and where exactly they must wear them.

Amid the pandemic, plastic or “Plexiglass” face shields became a popular choice for a face-covering, but at a recent council meeting, the discussion around plastic face shields determined that they don’t count under the City's bylaw and wearing them in public spaces could lead to a hefty fine.

The advice from the medical officer of health is that in order to qualify as a face covering, it has to cover and be securely fastened to the face and cover the nose, mouth and chin,” said Diana Soos about plastic face shields at the council meeting.

Face shields wouldn’t be consistent with that, because there would be a gap, which would allow droplets to fall and which is precisely what we’re trying to avoid happening in order to stem the spread.”

Between July 14-20, the City of Brampton not only issued charges for physical distancing but a total of 10 charges were laid for not adhering to the mandatory mask measures as well.

So, where exactly are Bramptonians required to wear masks? 

According to Mayor Patrick Brown, masks and face coverings will be required at businesses that primarily sell food including restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries and convenience stores, as well as churches and most other places of worship with the exception of religious ceremonies.

Additionally, they will be required at shopping malls or similar structures that contain multiple places of business, businesses providing personal care services and common areas of hotels, motels and other short-term accommodations.

They will also be required at libraries, museums galleries, banquet halls, convention centres, arena stadiums, concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, areas utilized for open houses, taxis, Ubers and public spaces in municipal buildings.

At a recent conference, Mayor Patrick Brown stressed the importance of this new mandatory bylaw and stated that this is no longer simply a “recommendation.”

Under the City's new bylaw, those not wearing a mask in outdoor public spaces could face fines of up to $100,000.

While this is now a mandatory bylaw in the City of Brampton, which is expected to last until October, some people may be exempt from wearing them.

"We're going to be reasonable about where it may not be applicable. If you look at daycares, schools, day camps, school buses; those are all examples where there's going to be reasonableness because we know young children will not be covered by that bylaw," explained Brown in a recent conference.

Children under the age of two and those who are unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions may be exempt from this bylaw. 

For more information on the City's mandatory mask bylaw, visit www.brampton.ca.

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