The mayor of Markham is calling on the provincial government to make masks mandatory in enclosed indoor spaces where physical distancing isn’t possible as his city moves towards Stage 2 of reopening Friday.
“We are prepared to take our first cautious steps toward recovery, whether it is getting a haircut or enjoying the first meal on a restaurant patio with a small group of family or friends — this is a positive development,” Frank Scarpitti said in a statement Monday evening.
“We are definitely moving in the right direction; however, this is not the time to let our guard down or to ease safety restrictions.”
Scarpitti said he wants to see retailers and personal service shops implement a “no mask, no service” policy.
York Region is one of seven additional areas that are entering Stage 2 of economic recovery on Friday, which includes the reopening of outdoor dining services at bars and restaurants, shopping malls, outdoor recreation facilities, hair and beauty salons, as well as barbershops, among other changes.
Toronto, Peel Region, and Windsor-Essex are the only regions that will remain in Stage 1.
“The percentage of community transmission cases in Markham continues to decline,” Scarpitti said.
“We have managed to maintain our position as having one of the lowest rates among large urban municipalities in York Region and lower than the provincial average. It is a position we do not want to compromise.”
Premier Doug Ford was asked about Scarpitti’s proposal during a press conference Tuesday.
Ford said he’ll be having a conversation with the mayor about the idea, but said it’s not possible to “police 14 and a half million people.”
“We just don’t have the manpower for bylaw and police officers to be chasing people without masks. Everyone’s been great. So let’s continue moving forward. The numbers are going down all because the people of Ontario have followed the protocol.”
Health Minister Christine Elliott said officials continue to recommend wearing a mask where physical distancing isn’t possible.
On Tuesday, the Ontario government released a guide for employers to create safe workplaces in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19 as more businesses reopen.