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Ottawa to make cloth masks mandatory in public indoor spaces

A motion to enact a new bylaw will be brought before city council on July 15.
Stock photo.

Cloth masks will soon be mandatory to enter indoor public spaces in Ottawa.

Mayor Jim Watson says Friday, the vast majority of residents and businesses are in favour of the rule, plus he thinks it will help the city better transition into the province's Stage 3 economic recovery plan.

In a memo posted to Twitter, Watson explains that a motion to create a new bylaw mandating masks in indoor spaces will be brought before city council on July 15.

City Councillor and Chair of the Ottawa Board of Health Keith Egli says a bylaw is "not a one-sentence statement," meaning the details of how the mandatory mask rule will be enforced, and where, are still in the works. 

Ottawa Public Health's most recent public engagement survey showed 90 per cent of residents willing to wear a mask in order to be allowed to access services, while 73 per cent say they already wear masks in indoor public spaces.

The mayor says there is increasing scientific evidence which shows the use of masks as an important measure to control the spread of COVID-19. It can also be hard to determine ahead of time whether or not keeping two-metres of physical distance will be doable before going into any given business.

Watson says the decision to make masks mandatory in Ottawa evens the playing field for all businesses in the community, and should help the local economy by decreasing the spread of COVID-19.

Until the by-law can be passed, the four Champlain region health units are looking at a regional approach to the mandatory mask rule. More information is expected on that, July 6.

A number of other Ontario municipalities have already moved to make masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, including Kingston, Guelph, and soon Toronto.


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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