Hamilton has officially made masks mandatory in public spaces

Hamilton city council has officially ratified the bylaw that will temporarily make face masks or coverings mandatory in enclosed public spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining other neighbouring municipalities like Halton, Brant County, and Toronto, the bylaw will officially go into effect as of Monday, July 20th.

Under the bylaw, any Hamilton residents entering public spaces such as retail shops, grocery stores, public transit, community centres, or places of worship will be required to wear at least a non-medical grade face mask or covering that covers the wearer’s nose, mouth, and chin; a measure which public health says is effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19, provided most or all people in a space comply.

Locals are allowed to temporarily remove their masks in select scenarios if physical distancing is possible to maintain, during activities including eating and drink at a restaurant, or engaging actively in an athletic activity. Hands should be thoroughly washed or sanitized before and after removing the mask.

While a non-medical grade mask doesn’t necessarily protect the wearer on its own, it does prevent the wearer from spreading droplets expelled by sneezing, coughing, speaking, or breathing; thereby protecting the other people around them.

Importantly, masks are still most effective with the other existing COVID-19 measures in place, including maintaining at least two metres of distance from others whenever possible, frequently washing your hands with soap or hand sanitizer, and staying home if you feel unwell.

Some individuals may be exempt from mask-wearing, including children under the age of two or those with an underlying medical condition that prevents them from wearing one.

Those found violating the bylaw are subject to a fine of up to $500.

Do you still need a mask? Shop local! Lots of awesome Hamilton small businesses are making reusable face masks for a reasonable price.

To read more about the new mask bylaw, check out the City of Hamilton website.

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