Region Unanimously Passes Face-Covering Bylaw

By: Laura Steiner Reporter/Editor

Halton Regional Council has unanimously passed a bylaw requiring residents to wear non-medical face coverings throughout the Region in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. The decision was made following an 8-hour council meeting.

The meeting started with hearing from delegates both for and against wearing face-coverings. Dr. Nadia Alam, an doctor in Halton Hills was one of the delegates speaking out in favour. “It takes some training, but my seven year old can do it. My non-medical 79 year old father can do it,” she said. Alam works as an anesthetist, and a family doctor. She said her colleagues had seen patients as young as 19 suffering with COVID-19. Alam highlighted COVID-19 as a new type of virus, and doctors are learning more everyday.

Dina and Thomas Warren spoke against the idea. “In the context of very low rates of COVID-19 infection and transmission in Halton Region, and other measures being implemented here, it is questionable what benefit if any can be achieved with mandatory masking,” Warren said. As of this morning, Halton Region sits at 885 total cases, an increase of three. The active cases by two, and the recovered/ resolved cases have increased by five. Halton a recorded 0 new deaths.

Following the delegations, debate continued over a proposed funding policy that would see the Region give up to $10,000 to local municipalities. “We’re requiring masks for a public health issue,” Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said. Burlington included $10,000 to help those with lower-income. The initiative was voted down.

There were also questions over the exemption list. The draft bylaw included community centres. “I don’t think we should exempt our own community centres,” Councillor Rick Malboeuf said. It was a sentiment shared by many of his colleagues. In the end, the bylaw includes a list of nine exemptions including: those with underlying health conditions, developmental disabilities and mental health issues.

Businesses will be responsible for placing signage informing customers of the bylaw. Enforcement will be the responsibility of Halton Regional Police Service. To report a violation call the COVID19 Hotline: 905-825-4722. It will be effective July 22, 2020 until November 30, 2020 unless Council extends it. To watch the full meeting on YouTube click here