While Doug Ford has lifted the provincial mask requirements, that does not mean they will completely disappear in Waterloo Region as there are also local face-covering bylaws in effect.
On Wednesday, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, announced that masks will no longer be required in most social settings such as restaurants, gyms, large event spaces and even schools.
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However, the mask mandate will remain in place for higher-risk settings such as transit, long-term care, retirement homes, hospitals, shelters, jails and congregate care and living settings.
That said, Waterloo Region established its own face-covering bylaw in July 2020, before the province’s came into effect.
Those bylaws will have to be struck down by council before they can be lifted in the area.
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Waterloo Region Chair Karen Redman says a special council meeting will take place next week to consider the issue.
“I have asked staff to organize a special council meeting for next week to review the face-covering bylaw to ensure that Regional Council can receive public input and staff recommendations prior to making a decision,” she said.
“It is important to me that we provide clarity and notice to residents and local businesses in advance of the provincial mandate lifting on the 21st.”
She said that council will consider the evidence and hear from the public as well as Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang before it makes a call on lifting the mask mandate.
What you should know about the face mask bylaws in Waterloo Region
“While restrictions continue to lift, including masking, it is important to remember that residents and businesses may have different comfort levels,” Redman said.
“Those who continue to choose wearing a mask and businesses that continue to require masks for patrons should be supported in their decision to do so. It is a collective, collaborative effort that has gotten us through this pandemic.
“We must continue to be kind and decent to our coworkers, friends, families, and neighbours across our region.”
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