Niagara Region extends mandatory mask bylaw to Apr. 1

Niagara Regional Council has extended a mandatory mask bylaw by five months until the Apr. 1 next year.

The final vote was 25 for the bylaw extension and five against.

The following Niagara Region representatives voted against the extension: West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, West Lincoln Counc. Albert Witteveen, Wainfleet Mayor Kevin Gibson, St. Catharines Counc. Tim Rigby, and Welland Counc. Leanna Villella.

“It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and will continue to affect our communities into next year. Regional Council’s decision to extend the face-covering bylaw reflects Niagara’s united commitment to safeguarding the health of our communities by following established public health advice,” said Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair.

The bylaw was first enacted Jul. 23 and implemented Jul. 31. If it has not been extended it would have expired Oct. 1.

The bylaw requires everyone in the Niagara Region to wear masks in enclosed public spaces and on regional transit. Mask exemptions apply to children under five and anyone with medical conditions.

The rationale for the new expiry date of Apr. 1 2021 date is that it is after the winter and flu season.

The regional council could end the bylaw sooner if a new vote is held.