Mississauga officially extends mask bylaw and restaurant restrictions until 2021

 

At a Sept. 16 meeting, Mississauga city councillors voted unanimously to extend the city’s mandatory face-covering bylaw and COVID-19-related restrictions on bars and restaurants until Jan. 20, 2021. 

The vote followed the release of a Sept. 1 report from Andra Maxwell, the City of Mississauga's lead solicitor, that recommended the bylaws be extended beyond October 2020. 

"We continue to work closely with Peel Public Health and our hospital partners to reduce the severity of a second wave this fall. To keep Mississauga safe, we are acting on the advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health by extending our by-law on mandatory face coverings in indoor public spaces until January 2021," said Mayor Bonnie Crombie in a statement. 

"Restaurants will also continue to limit the number of customers to a maximum of 100 indoors. We are doing what we can to support local businesses by extending patio season in Mississauga, which will be welcome news for bar and restaurant owners. Together, these measures will give us the flexibility we need to respond quickly and keep our City safe. I want to thank our residents and business community for their understanding and for working with us to help Mississauga recover and reopen safely."

Maxwell’s 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. Restaurants in Mississauga were recently informed that they can continue to operate their extended outdoor patios until at least Nov. 15, 2020.  

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

Before today, the COVID-19 bylaws were slated to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2020.

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.

The bylaws extension 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, adding 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 315 new cases on Sept. 16), 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 manufacturing 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.

At a Sept. 16 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that the province will lower gathering limits—currently set to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors—in Peel, Toronto and Ottawa in a bid to slow the spread of the novel coronvirus. 

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