Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown says all riders and customers on public transit will be required to wear masks or face coverings due to the COVID-19 pandemic starting in July.
“The health and safety of our passengers and staff members are our top priority,” said Brown at a weekly press briefing on Wednesday.
Brown referred to policies already implemented in Ottawa, where transit riders there are required to wear masks starting mid-June and said Brampton is “following that step.”
“What got us to this point is I wish that we would have seen a more significant decrease in cases but as it’s been clearly highlighted there are hotspots in the GTA and Brampton is one of them. We felt additional measures were needed,” Brown said.
Brown said “what hit it home” is continuing to hear about workplace outbreaks.
“The reality is we have a lot of people taking public transit for essential work for the food processing industry, for the laboratory industry and I want to take every precaution possible to make sure we’re keeping these transit passengers safe and the operators.”
The mayor said the city will launch a campaign that will explain to riders why they have to wear masks. Brown said the mask policy will officially take effect on July 2.
Brown said accommodations will be made for those who have medical reasons or respiratory issues for wearing masks.
“Just like Ottawa, we are doing our best to make it mandatory, but we understand there will be some specific cases that will be legitimate reasons why you can’t wear a mask,” Brown said.
So far, Brampton has reported 2,524 positive and probable cases of COVID-19 and 75 deaths attributed to the virus.
Brown said the city has seen an increase in positive cases among young people in their 20s.
“I continue to be alarmed that when we look at the positive cases we have a high number of young people between the ages of 20 and 29 testing positive,” Brown said. “You may not appreciate the severity of this virus, but you are spreading it in our community.”
He said there has been concerning behaviour as dozens of tickets for breaking social distancing rules have been issued between May 26 and June 1.
Brown added that 179 complaints were made for residential social gatherings. He said 19 charges related to parties in people’s backyards were issued, two charges for using equipment in parks and nine charges related to playing cricket.
“Please understand this is not the time for social gatherings,” Brown urged. “This is not the time to play team sports. We must listen to the advice of public health.”
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