Mississauga could extend restrictions on bars and restaurants until 2021

 

A report from the City of Mississauga's lead solicitor is recommending that the city extend its mandatory face-covering bylaw and COVID-19-related restrictions on bars and restaurants beyond October 2020.  

The Sept. 1 report, written by Andra Maxwell, recommends that council vote to extend some COVID-19-related bylaws and restrictions until January 20, 2021.

The report notes that the city has received and responded to close to 1,000 complaints about bars and restaurants not following proper protocols since July 10 (the day the city's mandatory face-covering bylaw came into effect). According to Maxwell, the city has received 936 complaints and carried out 945 inspections. The report indicates that the city has issued 27 notices of contravention, but has not given out any tickets. 

The report says that businesses given contravention notices rectified their errors. 

"Following the enactment of the [COVID-19 mandatory face-covering bylaw and the COVID-19 related measures for restaurants and drinking establishments bylaw], enforcement staff have reported that property and business owners have responded positively and were brought into compliance with the assistance of an inspection officer," the report reads. 

The city's mandatory face-covering bylaw requires all people over the age of two to wear a face-covering inside public indoor spaces such as retail stores, transit vehicles, indoor shopping centres, bars and restaurants (when not seated), indoor sports and recreational facilities, common spaces in condo and apartment buildings, common areas in hotels and other areas that are accessible to the public.

The face-covering bylaw does not apply to residents with certain medical conditions. 

On Aug. 5—days after the city entered stage 3 of the province's phased reopening plan—council passed a bylaw imposing additional restrictions on restaurants and bars, including limiting capacity to 100 patrons and setting 10-person limits at individual tables. 

Both bylaws were enacted based on recommendations by Dr. Lawrence Loh, the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel.

As of now, the COVID-19 bylaws are slated to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2020, but public health officials are calling for them to be extended to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Sept. 8, Dr. Monica Hau, the Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel, sent a letter to the regions’ mayors recommending that the COVID-19 bylaws be extended until the end of 2020.

City staff are recommending that the by-laws be extended until the end of January, which is the first scheduled meeting of city council of 2021.

The call to extend the bylaws comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are climbing in Peel (and Brampton in particular), Toronto, Ottawa and some other GTA municipalities. 

At a Sept. 9 press conference, Hau said the Region of Peel saw an increase of cases at levels not seen since June. At the press conference, Hau said that 73 per cent of new cases have been found in residents under 50 years of age. 

While there have been calls from some residents to shut down bars, gyms and indoor dining rooms in the wake of rising cases (Ontario reported 313 new cases on Sept. 14), public health officials in hard-hit regions such as Peel have said that new cases seem to be coming from private social gatherings (such as weddings and parties), private workplaces (60 cases were recently tied to an outbreak at an unidentified facility in Mississauga), households and travel. 

While the province has said re-implementing restrictions is not off the table, it has made no immediate plans to roll Peel or other hard-hit regions back to Stage 1 or 2.

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