Mississauga changing indoor mask bylaws and some face coverings no longer allowed
June 17, 2021
Mississauga is tightening its indoor face mask bylaws following the recommendation of Peel’s top doctor.
City council approved changes to Mississauga's indoor mask rules Wednesday, June 16 to only allow, with some exceptions, medical and non-medical masks in indoor public spaces.
That means certain previously permitted face coverings, such as bandanas, scarves or plastic shields, can no longer be worn inside a publicly accessible space, such as a mall, store or MiWay bus. Those who do not abide by the new rules could face a ticket or warning from an enforcement officer.
Businesses will also be required to make sure everyone entering and visiting wears an appropriate mask, with exceptions for health and age reasons.
The more stringent rules -- which define a mask as secured over the mouth and nose, having two or more layers of tightly woven fabric and a third filter layer in the middle among other standards -- follow recommendations from Peel’s medical officer of health Dr. Lawrence Loh.
At a June 10 press conference, Loh told reporters Peel Public Health outbreak data shows that "insufficient masking" was a big cause of COVID-19 exposure.
"We're hopeful that while these mask measures may seem quite stringent, they will only be with us, hopefully, for a few months more as we really just try to get over this final hump on to the finish line," he said.
Ward 4 Coun. John Kovac (pictured in 2019) questioned whether it was the right time to change mask rules. - Riziero Vertolli/Metroland
Ward 4 Coun. John Kovac, who has previously voted against instituting and extending indoor mask bylaws in Mississauga, was again the lone councillor opposed to amending the rules.
He said he’s not anti-mask but described himself as for “encouraging” behaviours and questioned whether it was the right time for tougher rules with COVID-19 appearing to be waning in the city.
"I think when you get a little bit too forceful, too aggressive, you can sometimes bother or antagonize," he said at the June 16 meeting.
The bylaw also now limits removal of masks to eat or drink only in specific areas inside buildings designated for food, such as food courts in malls.
The rules were approved as Delta variant, which is regarded as more contagious and severe than other forms of COVID-19, continues to gain traction across Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga.
A Peel Health report from June 6 to 12 showed 230 confirmed Delta variant cases in the city, up from 115 earlier this month. The report also showed 3,960 variant infections across the region that had yet to specified as either Delta, Alpha, Beta or Gamma.
Mississauga’s face mask bylaw was passed in July 2020 and since then at least 32 $360 tickets have been issued for alleged violations of city masking rules, according to a recent enforcement report.
The amended mask bylaw will be in effect until Sept. 30.