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Two people walk in downtown Ottawa, on May 1, 2020.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The mayor of Ottawa says he’s working to make cloth masks mandatory indoors in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 while restarting the economy.

Jim Watson says he and a councillor will bring forward a motion on July 15 to create a bylaw mandating the use of masks in indoor public spaces.

He says the move will help protect the community from increased transmission of the novel coronavirus while also giving businesses the chance to reopen.

Watson’s announcement comes after several other Ontario cities made similar moves, including Toronto and Windsor.

Toronto’s bylaw was passed last week and comes into effect on July 7.

Premier Doug Ford has resisted calls to make masks mandatory across the province, saying a regional approach is best given the relatively low infection rate in some parts of Ontario.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says new federal public health models are showing that the many restrictions Canadians have suffered with to suppress COVID-19 have worked. But he says the country still has 'hotspots' and any of them could explode into a bigger outbreak if we don't stay vigilant.

The Canadian Press

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