What are the implications of recent municipal by-laws regarding the wearing of masks in condos?

Given the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, certain provincial emergency orders are still in place including compliance with public health advice pursuant to Bill 195, Reopening Ontario. Additionally, some municipalities have passed by-laws regarding mask or face covering in the enclosed common areas of condo corporations.

Condo corporations should monitor municipal requirements and updates. Please note that the Condominium Act of Ontario does not refer to policies.
 

What steps should condo owners consider?

Owners and their guests may use the common areas according to the Condo Act. Given these exceptional times, the CAO encourages residents to comply with Public Health directives through:

•   Wearing a face mask,
•   Maintaining social distancing, and/or
•   Limiting the number of people in an elevator.

What is most important, at this time is communication and awareness of the importance of wearing a mask in addition to other safe practices to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The CAO encourages condo owners and residents to be respectful of each other in these unusual circumstances, including being considerate and asking politely before entering an elevator or other close quarters, respecting social distancing, and wearing a mask if the individual does not have any health issues regarding face coverings.

How do I wear a mask properly?

According to Ontario’s public health guidelines, to wear a mask properly you should:
 
•   Make sure it fits well around your nose and mouth;
•   Fit it securely to your head with ties or ear loops;
•   Use a mask that is at least two layers of tightly woven cotton or linen; and
•   Not share it with others.

Why are some people not wearing a mask?

Some people may have particular reasons for not wearing face masks. Ontario’s public health guidelines have made the following individuals exempt from wearing a mask:
 
•   Children under the age of two,
•   Anyone who has trouble breathing, and
•   Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

We encourage these individuals, and those responsible for them, to follow the health and safety considerations in the next section.

How else can I practice health and safety in my condo building?

The following public health and safety considerations should be considered as a guideline for safe practices for all individuals within condo communities:
 
1.   Practice social distancing and encourage others in your community to do so as well.
2.   Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
3.   Limit travel to only necessary trips.
4.   Stay up to date on the latest information from your local health authority.
5.   Stay home if you are feeling sick.

Ontario’s public health guidelines on masks and face coverings are available here.

For more public health recommendations on preventing the spread of COVID-19, click here.