Waterloo region council announces mandatory face mask bylaws

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Waterloo region council has announced the approval of the bylaws that will require people to wear masks on Grand River Transit and indoor public spaces, effective on July 13. 

The council approved the bylaws in a meeting on Monday night, in an additional effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

The bylaws will be in place until Sept. 30, with the option for the council to extend it. 

Face masks will be required on Grand River Transit, bus shelters, ION trains and platforms, in stores and shopping malls, indoor areas of restaurants and bars (unless patrons are consuming food and drink), and many other indoor public places. 

Other indoor public places include professional services (such as counselling, personal care, funeral homes, repair and rental services), lobby areas of commercial buildings, hotels and motels (with the exception of rented rooms), laundromats, indoor areas of fitness centres and sports facilities, indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas, indoor amusement facilities, places of worship, museums, galleries, historic sites, etc. and municipal buildings.

The mask or face covering should cover the nose, mouth and chin without gapping. Face masks will not be required on patios or outdoor public spaces.

Those who are unable to wear masks have been exempted from the bylaws, including children under the age of five, those with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from wearing face coverings, and those engaged in sport or strenuous physical activity. 

The bylaws do not extend to federal or provincial buildings, colleges, universities or schools, hospitals or other health facilities, and employee-only areas of buildings. 

Regional officials said that enforcement would be based on complaints against those who do not comply with the bylaws. 

Face mask bylaws have also been announced in other Ontario cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, and others. 

Updates to come.

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