Waterloo Region Council will hold a special council meeting on Monday afternoon to decide on whether face masks will be mandatory on public transit or in closed public spaces.
Council will be asked to consider separate bylaws for transit riders on buses, LRT vehicles and bus shelters as well as enclosed spaces such as stores and places of worship.
Should masks be mandatory? It depends
They will also be considering whether the bylaws aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus will be enacted immediately or if there will be a grace period.
The proposed bylaw says the face covering can include masks, bandanas or scarves that cover the nose, mouth and chin.
The bylaw will also create an obligation on shopkeepers to not allow customers into their stores without covering their faces.
Children under the age of five and those with a medical exception will be exempt from the bylaw.
On Friday, regional chair Karen Redman said she believes passing the bill could help create less confusion in the community.
[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]
“If bylaws are passed, it will provide greater certainty for individuals and businesses as we continue into our recovery phase,” Redman said on Friday.
The question of whether to wear a mask during the pandemic
The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon, although several councillors have already declared their support ahead of the meeting, including Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, who spearheaded the bill, and Kitchener Coun. Tom Galloway.
On Monday morning, Galloway addressed the issue on Twitter by saying he had received an “onslaught of email from the community.”
“Most of the opposing messages think the pandemic is essentially over,” he wrote. “If we want to keep the curve flat and be able to continue reopening we need masks. It will also remind everyone it’s not over.”
He then used Texas’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases as justification for enacting the bylaw after hearing from businesses that do not want it in place.
“They only have to post provided signs and enforce to the extent they wish,” he said. “But more importantly, they should agree we don’t want to reclose or stop reopening because of a spike a la Texas, etc.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.