Mississauga expected to lift its mask mandate this week


Published March 21, 2022 at 11:38 am

Mississauga residents can scrap the face masks starting today (March 21) in most public settings, but technically speaking they’ll be violating a city bylaw by doing so.

While the provincial government says people across Ontario are no longer required to wear the face coverings as of March 21, except on public transit and in hospitals and long-term care centres, the City of Mississauga’s mask bylaw doesn’t expire until March 31.

But unmasked Mississauga residents need not worry about bylaw enforcement officers approaching them.

Mississauga officials have said they’re in alignment with the Ontario government on the matter and City council will likely decide to scrap the municipal bylaw as of this Wednesday (March 23), when it next meets.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie said at the City’s last media briefing, on March 10, that she expects council will vote this week in favour of expiring Mississauga’s mask bylaw eight days earlier than scheduled.

“I do anticipate the decision will be to align with the Province and lift the mandate,” Crombie said, noting Peel’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, has indicated he will not be implementing any additional COVID-19 measures.

As the masks come off this week, Crombie and Mississauga Ward 9 Councillor have said they believe the Ontario government has lifted the mandate too soon.

Crombie told reporters at the March 10 media briefing that while the COVID-19 situation is stable, the virus hasn’t gone anywhere and those with compromised immune systems remain vulnerable.

One day earlier, at a meeting of Mississauga’s general committee, Saito was a strong dissenting voice during discussion about Mississauga moving forward in lockstep with the Ontario government with respect to the lifting of the mask mandate.

In fact, citing infectious disease specialists and giving a nod to concerned residents she’s heard from, Saito said Mississauga should  extend its mask bylaw beyond March 31.

Starting today (March 21), face masks are longer required in schools, retail settings and most other indoor public spaces in Ontario. The change comes a few weeks after the Province lifted proof-of-vaccination rules and capacity limits.

Select settings such as public transit, healthcare facilities, long-term care homes and congregate care settings, will keep mask mandates until the end of April, when the Province plans to put an end to all remaining public health rules.

Provincial politicians and top health officials say public health indicators have improved enough to remove mask rules, which have also been lifted in other jurisdictions across Canada and around the world.

School boards that wanted more time to keep mask mandates have been ordered by the Province to adhere to the official end date, but the Hamilton-Wentworth school board has said it plans to keep the mask requirement until April 1.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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