TORONTO -- The Distillery District is now asking visitors to wear face masks not only inside, but outside as well. 

The popular destination in downtown Toronto says it is the first place in the city to make outdoor masks mandatory.

"I think if we are sort of a step ahead in trying to be safer and trying to create a safe environment, we're helping our community and we are keeping our patrons safe," said Elena Price, the Distillery Historic District General Manager.

The very popular Toronto Christmas Market, that usually draws thousands of visitors each holiday season, has been cancelled due to COVID-19. It has been replaced with a "winter village" to draw customers to the retailers. But Price says the crowds will be much thinner as a safety precaution.

"We did calculate the capacity for the current floor space inside the distillery and creating a six foot bubble around everybody here we have a capacity of about 2,400."

There are gates at the entrances, and security will be monitoring the number of guests at any one time and also asking people to mask up.

"I think it is necessary at this point, we'll do anything we can," said Kathy Washington, who was visiting with her young daughter.


On Thursday, most people entering the district were not wearing masks, but were not against the new policy and quickly put one on.

"Even though people don't like to wear masks, or think it is uncomfortable, we still have to wear it to make sure everyone is safe because cases are going up really high lately," said a woman who identified herself as Luoyan.

Price says for now they won't enforce the new rule, but will instead ask politely that visitors wear them for their own safety and the safety of others.

Free masks will be available to guests who do not have one. 

Children under the age of two are exempted from the policy. Guests seated at a table to consume food or a beverage are also not required to wear a mask. 

In July, the City of Toronto made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces, but the policy does not apply to outdoor public spaces.