Masks and face coverings now mandatory in London's enclosed public spaces

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All City of London residents, with some exceptions, must now wear a mask in publicly accessible enclosed spaces.

City Council has passed a temporary by-law requiring London residents to wear a face covering or mask in all enclosed publicly-accessibly spaces, effective immediately.

Yesterday, Council passed the by-law on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health as an additional health measure to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 infections in the community. This comes after the Chief issued an order requiring masks to be worn on public transit, taxis, and by ride share vehicle operators and in personal care service establishments.

“This is a necessary step to ensure we continue our progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said London Mayor Ed Holder in a statement. “This by-law is particularly important as more businesses and service providers reopen and we continue to get through this pandemic. Wearing a mask or a face covering while in public spaces is a way Londoners can help one another. Please remember to be respectful and kind to those who are unable to wear a mask.”

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With some exceptions, all persons including staff, customers or visitors entering an enclosed space are required to wear a mask or face covering while indoors. Acceptable coverage includes a conventional mask such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item covering the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.

Residents are permitted to temporarily remove their face covering or mask when receiving services, having a meal, or engaging in athletic or fitness activity.

The City of London outlines the following as indoor spaces openly accessible to the public:

  • Restaurants, cafés, cafeterias
  • Retail establishments and shopping malls
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship
  • City indoor recreational facilities open to the public, community centres including indoor recreational facilities, whether publically accessible or requiring membership
  • Libraries, art galleries, performing arts centres, museums, aquariums, zoos, and other similar facilities
  • Community service agencies providing services to the public
  • Banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and any other event space;
  • Premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes
  • Common areas of hotels, motels or other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms, or other common use facilities
  • Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and other entertainment facilities
  • Other business, organizations and places that are permitted to operate in accordance with the Emergency Orders
  • Employees of businesses or establishments working in a publicly-accessible indoor space where there is no physical barrier (such as Plexiglas, a partition, screen or wall)
Exemptions include those unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of 12, and other accommodations under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Residents are not required to show proof of exemption from wearing a face covering under the by-law.

Fanshawe College has also issued a statement requiring all staff and students to wear a mask at all times as they return to campus to complete winter term work. The College will provide masks for those who do not bring their own.

According to the City of London’s website, the by-law will remain in effect until Dec. 31.

Full details on further exemptions are available in the by-law, which can be found online here. More details on the health unit’s requirements can be found here. More information on the City’s by-law can be found here.