Hamilton has joined Toronto-area mayors in asking the Ontario government to implement a mandatory mask order for all large municipalities in an effort to curb any further spread of COVID-19. In a joint statement issued on Monday, Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area mayors and regional chairs said they “unanimously agreed” that Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government should issue a “mandatory face covering measure” for indoor settings for the province’s most populated regions.
“We are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19. We must do everything we can to avoid flare-ups of the virus in our communities,” the statement reads.
The push for a provincial mandatory masking policy comes amid resistance from Premier Doug Ford who, while encouraging the use of face coverings in public, has said an official provincial order would be difficult to enforce. Medical Officer Dr. Barabara Yaffe had a similar response in her briefing today. She also cited the difficulty in enforcement.
While Ford has suggested that rural and northern areas of the province would outright ignore a province masking order, local politicians are calling for a more regional strategy that would include Hamilton, Toronto, York region and Peel region.
The mayors also argue that mandating the use of masks could help speed up the economic re-opening and recovery especially in the hospitality and restaurant industry. The full communique follows: