Oakville is working to encourage either a region- or town-wide mandatory mask policy.
At a special council meeting last night (July 8), Oakville town council unanimously passed a motion requesting that the Halton Region enact a region-wide temporary mandatory mask bylaw.
The proposed bylaw, if passed, will require the use of non-medical face masks or coverings in enclosed public spaces.
“There are a variety of views in our community on this matter. We have heard from a great many residents, businesses, and we thank you for your input. By following public health guidelines, Oakville and Halton residents have crushed the curve,” said Mayor Rob Burton in a statement.
“We have seen many people wearing face coverings voluntarily, however, we are willing to support this action to provide an extra measure of protection in fighting this pandemic.”
Halton Region will consider a region-wide by-law for the mandatory use of masks on July 15. The following day, Town Council will hold a special council meeting to approve a proposed town bylaw in the event that regional council declines to implement one. Should regional council not pass a bylaw, Oakville will work to pass its own within seven days.
The town says the proposed Oakville-specific bylaw will ask businesses and organizations that operate inside of enclosed, indoor spaces to ensure that anywho enters wears a mask or face-covering.
Children under two years of age and individuals with underlying medical conditions inhibiting their ability to wear a mask or face covering are exempt. The bylaw also permits temporary removal of a mask or face covering when necessary, such as while eating or drinking, receiving a service that requires access to the face, and while engaged in an athletic or fitness activity.
Under the bylaw, businesses will not be permitted to demand that employees or members of the public provide proof of a medical condition or other exemption.
“I strongly encourage everyone to wear masks in public indoor settings and follow our public health guidelines. Facemasks are not a substitute for handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes and practicing physical distancing. I encourage everyone to also follow my three Cs of COVID-caution: avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings,” said Burton.
Those wishing to submit feedback regarding the proposed town bylaw can direct it, via email, to [email protected], by noon, July 16, 2020.