Region of Waterloo Council adopts mask by-laws

Posted on Monday July 06, 2020

Waterloo Region – Today, Regional Council adopted two bylaws that require face coverings on transit and in indoor public settings such as shopping malls and retail shops, restaurants, museums, recreational facilities, and more.

“These by-laws provide clarity to individuals and businesses of the importance of wearing masks and face coverings to help us protect and respect each other,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “This is a key element to support our business community as we move forward, safely, with economic reopening and recovery.”

The Region will continue to take an education-first approach, asking people to comply with the by-laws and educating them on the importance of protecting each other.

Face coverings are required in the following locations, with some exceptions:

  • Buses, bus shelters, ION trains and ION platforms
  • Stores and shopping malls
  • Indoor areas of restaurants and bars, with the exception of patrons consuming food/drink
  • Professional services such as counselling, personal care, funeral homes, repair and rental services
  • Lobby areas of commercial buildings
  • Hotels and motels, with the exception of rented rooms
  • Laundromats
  • Indoor areas of fitness centres, gyms and recreational and sports facilities
  • Indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas
  • Arcades and other indoor amusement facilities
  • Museums, galleries, historic sites, etc.
  • Places of worship
  • Municipal buildings 

More detail, including exceptions and by-law language can be found on our website on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 (

“These by-laws support my strong recommendation that people wear masks when physical distancing is not possible, especially in enclosed, indoor settings and on public transit,” said Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang. 

Both by-laws take effect July 13, 2020. The by-laws will be repealed on September 30, 2020 unless extended by Council.

The by-laws exempt children under the age of five, those who are unable to wear a face covering as a result of a medical condition or a disability and those engaged in sport or strenuous physical activity. In addition, the by-laws do not cover federal or provincial buildings, colleges, universities or schools, hospitals or health facilities, employee-only areas of businesses and other buildings.

The Region will be undertaking an education campaign on the face covering by-laws in the coming weeks that will include website and social media messaging, digital advertising, distribution of mask by-law posters and decals to businesses and supplying free masks to riders at transit stations.



For more information, please contact:


Bryan Stortz, Director, Corporate Communications, 519-575-4408

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