I am pleased that York Region Council finally passed a motion making mask use mandatory in most indoor spaces by most people (some exemptions apply). This move reflects the wishes of many constituents who have reached out to me in the past few days asking for mandatory mask use to be implemented in York Region.
There are many reasons for mask use during this current pandemic, and many of these are important public health reasons. I would also add the move for mandatory mask use provides consistency of expectations for businesses while adding much needed confidence and certainty for consumers when shopping in our community.
COVID-19 has not gone away even though our infection numbers have thankfully decreased lately. It is in all of our interests to remain vigilant and protect ourselves and our fellow citizens!
To read a good summary of the new initiative contained in an article written by Kim Zarzour from York Region.com please click here.
To visit the Region of York Website and learn about the details about the new Mandatory mask Bylaw please click here.
Statement from Mayor Barrow in Support of Regional Face Mask and Coverings Decision
The health and safety of our staff and the entire Richmond Hill community continues to be our top priority.
Following a unanimous vote at York Regional Council yesterday, effective July 17 until November 30, business owners and operators in Richmond Hill and throughout York Region must have a policy in place to prohibit people from entering enclosed public spaces if they are not wearing a face mask or covering.
These new rules will also apply to all indoor City of Richmond Hill facilities, such as community centres, once they have re-opened to the public. Exceptions will be provided for those unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of 5 and those who require accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
I am very pleased this action was supported by all members of Regional Council. I’d like to thank York Regional Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji for his recommendation and the guidance provided by York Region Public Health. I strongly believe a unified approach to the use of face masks and coverings will further protect our communities from the risk of COVID-19.
Over the past several months, our community has done such an incredible job in doing their part to stop the spread by staying distanced and following public health guidelines. I have heard loud and clear the calls from our residents who want masks to be required. I believe Richmond Hill residents will embrace this as the next step in our journey to both save lives and safely re-open.
Consistent with the City’s approach throughout the pandemic, we will take an educational approach to help more people understand the benefits of wearing a face mask or covering in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. I encourage everyone to view the information provided by York Region Public Health at york.ca/mandatorymasks to learn about the proper way to wear and dispose of face masks to protect yourself and others.
We have come so far as a community, but it is not over yet. It is critical we continue to take every precaution possible in our fight against this virus, as we do our best to move forward in our new post-pandemic environment.
By working together, we are getting through this.