KITCHENER -- Waterloo Regional council is expected to vote on extending its mask bylaw until the end of the year next week.

A staff report recommends extending the bylaw until Dec. 31, unless council decides to repeal it earlier.

The COVID-19 situation locally and provincially has not improved enough to allow the current bylaw to expire at the end of April as originally intended, staff say.

Ongoing spread of COVID-19 variants of concern and the pace of the vaccine rollout are being cited as factors in the need for more time before relaxing the rule.

Council is expected to vote on the matter Tuesday.