AYLMER, ONT. -- The Elgin County community of Aylmer has unanimously passed a new bylaw, making masks mandatory inside public spaces as of Thursday.

It comes as the case count continues to rise in the small town. Southwestern Public Health is reporting 47 cases in Aylmer as of Wednesday.

Mayor Mary French said it is cause for concern. “With the numbers going up, everyone, they’re nervous. So we’ve got to do what we can to get the numbers back down.”

The new bylaw follows a letter of instruction from Southwestern Public Health to businesses across Elgin and St. Thomas, along with Oxford County, to implement mandatory face coverings.

Elgin County has seen a growing rise in cases over the past week with Aylmer, St. Thomas, Bayham, and Tillsonburg all reporting new cases. Medical Oficer of Health Dr. Joyce Lock is warning people not to let their guard down.

“There are several different nodes in our local community. So we have some related to a variety of workplaces. We have some cases which have been related to families, and some have been larger families. And we have some cases related to social gatherings, which got a little bigger than the social bubble that we talk about.”

The caseload in Aylmer is now considered a community outbreak. French points out that the number also includes Malahide Township. She said town council has been told some of the cases originated within faith communities.

“I know that some of the churches have realized they need to go back to other ways, maybe virtual church meetings or whatever. I’ve heard a couple of churches are going to be changing some of their rules and they may not be meeting.”

French said the pending mask bylaw has been well received so far.

Aylmer residents CTV News spoke with don’t seem to mind having to wear a face covering in public spaces.

“I’ve been doing it for the whole time, so yes I’m good with it,” said April La Roche.

Resident Leonard Underhill said he’s also willing to wear a mask. “COVID, nobody really wants it around here but we’ve got to do our best to protect ourselves.”