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Ottawa proposes mandatory face masks in designated outdoor zones to limit COVID-19 spread

A report for Wednesday’s Council meeting recommends amending Ottawa’s Temporary Mask Bylaw to establish designated outdoor areas where face masks will be mandatory during busy periods

OTTAWA — Face masks could soon be mandatory in designated outdoor “zones” in the City of Ottawa where city staff worry there may be a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

. If approved, the general manager of Emergency and Protective Services would have the authority to identify “high risk areas or zones in the city where masks would be required on specific days of the week during specific hours of the day.”

Emergency and Protective Services general manager Anthony Di Monte and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches outline the idea of “designated unenclosed public spaces” as part of amendments to the five-week-old bylaw.

“Over the course of the spring and summer months, there have been a number of instances of large gatherings in outdoor areas of the city where two-metre physical distancing was not practicable and masks were not being worn, thereby posing a significant risk for the transmission of the virus,” the report states.

It adds that with the reopening of businesses, the impending reopening of elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools and continued opportunities for residents to socialize, “mechanisms to quickly address…

Josh Pringle

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