Mississauga extends facemask bylaw until next summer

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Mississauga residents will have to wear masks or face-coverings until at least next summer. 

On Dec. 9, city council approved a request by Peel's top doctor to extend the city's temporary mask bylaw—which was slated to expire on Jan. 20, 2021—until June 30, 2021. 

In a letter to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson, Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh, said that believes it is a necessary step to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

"Due to the continued presence of the virus in our community and the high number of cases in Peel, my public health advice is that local municipal by-laws mandating the use of face coverings continue in force until June 30, 2021," Loh wrote in the letter to Peel Region mayors. 

"We continue to closely monitor the virus in our community and will provide regular updates to municipalities to help inform Council decisions regarding the continuation and/or repeal of these temporary by-laws."

Loh believes that along with social distancing, facemasks are an effective way of stopping the spread of the virus.

"Non-medical masks/face coverings that cover the mouth, nose, and chin without gapping remain an effective public health measure in controlling COVID-19 at its source by preventing the spread of respiratory droplets that may contain COVID19 from the wearer to others," Loh said. 

"This is especially important in situations where physical distancing is difficult."

Council, which approved the extension without debate, has been extending COVID-19-related bylaws fairly regularly over the course of the pandemic. 

On July 8, 2020, council first enacted its COVID-19 Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw, which requires all people (with some exceptions) to wear a mask or face-covering inside public spaces such as retail stores, indoor sports and recreational facilities, apartments and condominiums. 

While a face-covering rule was implemented by the province after Mississauga approved its own bylaw, a report says that the duplicate laws are effective at ensuring compliance at businesses throughout Mississauga. 

Under the city's face-covering bylaw, businesses are required to maintain face-covering policies and to post signage related to these policies, which is not a requirement at the provincial level. 

Fines for violating the city's face-covering bylaw range from $150 to $300 and tend to be levied against small businesses who are first-time offenders. Tickets issued for violations of the province's masking laws carry a higher fine of $750 and are "more appropriate for repeat offenders," according to the city. 

According to the city's report, enforcement officers have received 1,956 complaints about COVID-19 violations (including masking violations) since March 30 and have issued 22 $300 tickets. The city has issued 135 $750 tickets since the spring.

With files from Steve Pecar

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