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Ministry of Health says masks will not be mandatory on a provincial level

Last Updated Jun 30, 2020 at 12:03 am EDT

Face masks are seen after the chemical-physical tests are conducted by laboratory specialists in lab-conditions if the productions equal to the standards in Istanbul, Turkey on May 05, 2020. (Photo by Isa Terli/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The province will not move to make masks mandatory in public spaces, despite an appeal from mayors in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

The Ministry of Health said Monday night that a provincial masking policy is not necessary.

Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti has been spearheading the campaign to make masks mandatory in Ontario.

He was joined by Toronto Mayor John Tory, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua in a request to make face coverings mandatory indoors, provincially.

The mayors were hoping the province would put in a provincial order, rather than having each individual municipality have to create its own bylaws.

However, in a statement, ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Hilkene said local medical officers of health have the authority to institute the same policy.

“Doing so at a local level would ensure responsiveness to community needs without applying the same policy to regions with little to no COVID,” she said.

The province continues to urge people to wear masks if possible and continue to practice physical distancing.

Those who have conditions like asthma or other respiratory illnesses and cannot tolerate a mask are being asked to follow other measures like staying home as much as possible, frequently wash hands and maintain physical distance from those outside their social bubble.