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GTHA mayors push province to make masks mandatory indoors

As loosened pandemic restrictions bring more people out of their homes and back into local businesses, a group of Greater Toronto Hamilton Area mayors, including Toronto Mayor John Tory, are calling on the province to make masks mandatory indoors.

“The Mayors and Chairs unanimously agreed to request the Government of Ontario to implement a mandatory face covering measure for large municipalities. Any such order should apply to indoor public settings and would include appropriate exceptions for age and health” the mayors said in a release.

Joining Mayor Tory in calling for mandatory masks are Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua.

The group met via videoconference on Monday to discuss the issue.

Scarpitti said the mayors were on the same page on the issue, but added that they’re hoping the province will put in a provincial order, rather than having each individual municipality have to create its own bylaws.

“Our first ask is to the province, it makes absolute sense for the province to do it in large urban centres in Ontario,” he said.

“In the absence of the province doing it many are going to go forward and put this on their agendas and deal with it in the next few days and next couple of weeks.”

“At the end of the day we need to be sending a very strong message that collectively our fight against COVID-19 is not over.”

Toronto has already moved to make masks mandatory on the TTC starting July 2.

Customers with medical conditions and children under two will be exempt from the policy.

The TTC has also committed to distributing one million masks to those who do not have them.