The extension follows increased concern about the Omicron variant.
Toronto City Council approved the extension of COVID-19 bylaws on Wednesday, and it looks like residents won't be going maskless in public indoor spaces until at least April 2022.
An extension for Toronto's mandatory mask bylaw and the COVID-19 amendments to Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings, were recommended by Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey, Toronto's acting medical officer of health, due to current COVID-19 trends.
This means Torontonians will be required to wear masks while inside indoor public settings, like businesses and common spaces of apartments and condos.
Apartment buildings must also continue to provide hand sanitizer or hygiene stations, close off common areas in accordance with provincial rules, post-Toronto Public Health signage and increase cleaning.
However, the medical officer of health will continue to review each bylaw on a monthly basis.
According to a press release, "COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks with the onset of colder weather and as more people gather indoors," and reports from Ontario's Science Advisory Modelling Consensus Tables on December 7 indicate that COVID-19 cases and ICU admission will keep rising in December and January.
Public health experts are also concerned that the Omicron variant could overtake the Delta variant, which "up until recently, had been the dominant variant circulating in the community."
Mayor John Tory commented on the extension, saying, "now as we confront the Omicron variant, we know from public health officials that making sure we are wearing our masks when around others indoors is even more important."
"These bylaws are a temporary and necessary response to the pandemic to help save lives and protect people. I want to thank the vast majority of Toronto residents who wear their masks when out in public places to help protect themselves and each other."
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