Waterloo Regional Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to extend the face-covering bylaw through spring of next year.
The bylaw, which will now run through May 31, 2021, will also see face coverings now required by those who are riding in taxis and in some common areas of apartment buildings.
The common areas include lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators and community rooms.
In addition to cabs and the common areas of apartment complexes, the current bylaw does not extend to federal or provincial buildings; colleges, universities or schools; hospitals or health facilities; and the employee-only areas of businesses and other buildings. Most of these areas do not come under regional jurisdiction.
Council can put an end to the bylaw early upon the recommendation of staff.
Masks were initially made mandatory by Waterloo Region council on July 13 in a move which was initially intended to last until the end of September.
The bylaw rules out face shields as it states that a face covering “shall mean a medical mask or non-medical mask or other face covering, including a bandana, scarf or other fabric that covers the nose, mouth and chin to create a barrier to limit the transmission of respiratory droplets.”
There are several exceptions to the bylaw, including people with a medical condition or a disability, kids under the age of five, people doing a sport or other strenuous physical activity, and people consuming food or drink as part of a religious activity within a place of worship.
Councillors say members of the public should not chastise anyone for not wearing a mask, as that person could be entitled to one of those exemptions.
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