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Hamilton City Council enacts a by-law requiring face coverings in enclosed public spaces

HAMILTON, ON - After a recommendation from Public Health Services and the Board of Health, today, Hamilton City Council voted to enact a by-law (By-law No.20-155 (PDF, 118 KB) that requires the wearing of masks or face coverings in enclosed public spaces. Beginning July 20, 2020 at 12:01 am, with some exceptions, all persons entering an enclosed public premise are required to wear a mask or face covering. As more establishments and businesses begin to re-open, wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure that can be taken to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and keep one another safe.

Business owners and establishment operators will be required to take reasonable steps to ensure that no member of the public is permitted entry to, or otherwise remain within, the establishment without a face covering.  The mask or face covering should cover the nose, mouth and chin, without gapping. The City of Hamilton would like to urge the public to be respectful as businesses seek to comply with the new by-law to protect all of us from COVID-19.

A number of exemptions have been considered and included in the by-law, since not every person can participate in wearing a mask or face covering.  Some examples of these exemptions include children under 2 years of age, a person who has an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a face covering, and a person who is unable to place or remove a face covering without assistance. A self-declaration of exemption is acceptable and sufficient. It’s vital that no member of the public be denied entry or stigmatized if they are unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a listed exemption.  We ask for patience and kindness as everyone adjusts and navigates through these uncertain times.

The primary objective of the by-law is to achieve voluntary compliance; however, fines may be issued to those who fail to comply. Every person who contravenes this by-law may be issued a penalty notice under the Administrative Penalty System (APS), the maximum fine is $500. A repeat offender could be issued a Part 3 charge under the Provincial Offences Act (POA) for a contravention of this By-law. This by-law will be reviewed by the Board of Health every 3 months.

Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a 2-metre distance even when wearing a face covering or mask, as well as follow other public health measures such as frequent hand washing and staying home if sick.

Learn more about mandatory face coverings in the City of Hamilton by visiting

“Wearing masks or face coverings in enclosed public spaces will help our efforts in protecting the community from further spread of the virus. This new by-law is an additional public safety measure which is being implemented in many neighbouring municipalities and will help avoid mass spread of the virus. It will help keep people safe and also ensure that we can safely keep moving forward in reopening our economy. Thank you to everyone in Hamilton for your cooperation and for working together to slow the advance of the virus in our community.” - Mayor Fred Eisenberger

“The recommendation to implement mandatory masking for enclosed public spaces is a precaution to prevent the transmission and resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the community going forward.  This by-law supports Public Health’s priority of ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of residents, as well as the recommended public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. My most sincere thanks to all members of the community for their tremendous job in keeping the spread of COVID-19 under control, and for their adaptability during these extraordinary times” – Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health 

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