On July 15, 2020, Halton Regional Council approved By-law 47-20, making it mandatory to wear a face covering or non-medical mask in certain enclosed public places. The By-law is in effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 22, 2020 until November 30, 2020, unless extended by Regional Council.
“This is an important next step for our community as we continue to fight COVID-19 and ensure we keep moving forward,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We would not be where we are today without the incredible commitment of our residents and businesses to keep each other safe. I am confident that we will all continue to work together as we reopen our economy and community in the safest way possible.”
The By-law applies to the following enclosed/indoor places:
- premises or any portion thereof which are used as a place of business for the sale or offering for sale of goods or services;
- churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship;
- community centres including indoor recreational facilities;
- libraries, art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos and other similar facilities;
- community service agencies providing services to the public, including municipal administrative buildings;
- banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and other event spaces;
- premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes;
- common areas of hotels, motels and other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities;
- concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and other entertainment facilities; and
- public transportation and private transportation services (such as taxis, private limousine services, Uber, Lyft and other similar ride programs).
When it comes to children, every parent or guardian accompanying a child that is five (5) years old or older, in an enclosed/indoor public place, shall ensure that the child wears a non-medical mask/face covering. This is subject to the exemptions listed in the By-law, which includes but is not limited to, indoor/outdoor day care and day camps.
“Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in certain enclosed public places is an additional measure we can all take to keep each other safe,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health. “I also encourage everyone to wear a mask in all scenarios where physical distancing is a challenge and to remember that wearing a mask does not replace other important health measures such as frequent hand washing, physically distancing with those outside your social circle and staying home when you are sick.”
There are some persons/individuals who are exempt from the By-law. As the new By-law is implemented, Halton Region is asking residents to please be kind and supportive to others in our community who may be exempt and reminding residents that every person’s situation is different and not all exemptions may be visible. The By-law also contains a provision that notes that no person shall be discriminated against for not wearing a non-medical mask/face covering due to an exemption.
The following exemptions apply, without proof required:
- the person is under three years of age chronologically;
- the person is under three years of age developmentally and they refuse to wear a Mask or Face Covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver;
- the person has an underlying medical condition where wearing a Mask or Face Covering would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe in any way;
- the person may experience a negative impact to their emotional well-being or mental health;
- the person has a developmental disability which inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;
- the person has a disability whereby the wearing of a mask or face covering would limit their ability to reasonably communicate with others or otherwise present a hardship for a person or persons assisting the individual;
- the person is unable to place or remove a Mask or Face Covering without assistance;
- persons temporarily removing their Non-Medical Mask / Face Covering when necessary for receiving services (such as having a meal), or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity; and
- employees and agents of the person responsible for the Public Place within an area designated for them and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier.
If residents or businesses have any questions or concerns, they are being asked to call 311. To learn more about the new By-law, what it means for you, your family or your business, please visit halton.ca/COVID19. There, you can also find information on the latest public health direction, the status of cases in the community and information on how to protect yourself and others. This includes the important public health measures residents should continue following such frequent hand washing, physical distancing outside of their social circle and staying home when they are sick.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 580,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.