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FULL DETAILS: It Will Be Mandatory To Wear A Mask Starting Friday At Commercial Establishments In Windsor Essex

Tuesday June 23rd, 2020, 3:12pm


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As of Friday it will be mandatory to wear a mask or face covering at commercial establishments in Windsor and Essex County.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit released details Tuesday afternoon about the new requirement.

The mask or face covering requirement was made as an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and takes effect at 12:01am on June 26th, 2020.

The Health Unit says the order “requires all owners or operators of a commercial establishment in Windsor-Essex to prohibit the entry of any person who is not wearing a face covering, unless the person cannot wear one due to medical reasons or age.”

The order requires owners and operators to “have a policy in place to prohibit persons from entering the premises of the commercial establishment or remaining in the premises if the said person is not wearing a face covering.”

The Health Unit says the order applies to any places “that are open to the public and offer goods and/or services for sale” such as retail stores, convenience stores, malls and plazas, restaurants, personal service settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, farmers’ markets, mechanic shops, and car dealerships.

The order says masks or face coverings “must be worn inside the establishment at all times, unless it is reasonably required to temporarily remove the face covering for services provided by the establishment.”

The Health Unit says when worn appropriately, non-medical face masks “can be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 from person to person.”

“Maintaining physical distancing, washing your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer, staying home when you are ill, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve, regular cleaning and disinfecting and avoiding crowds are still the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19,” said Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health. “However, in public settings where physical distancing is not possible, to protect yourself and others wearing a facemask is recommended and will now be enforced through this class order for commercial establishments.”

“I hope that these extra measures will continue to keep the spread of COVID-19 in our community low and allow us to safely move to Stage 2,” he said.

In the order, Dr. Ahmed listed several reasons for the mask or face covering requirement, including the continued risk of community transmission.

“As of today,” Dr. Ahmed wrote in the order, “there is evidence of continued community transmission of COVID-19 in the jurisdiction of Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, as evidenced by newly identified cases not connected to facility outbreaks or travel.”

The order says a person will be exempt from wearing a face covering at commercial establishments if:

  • The person is a child under the age of two years; or a child under the age of 5 years either chronologically or developmentally and he or she refuses to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver;
  • Wearing a face covering would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe in any way;
  • For any other medical reason, the person cannot safely wear a face covering such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information.
  • For any religious reason, the person cannot wear a face covering, or cannot do a face covering in a manner that would properly control source.

The Health Unit says the order requires the wearing of face coverings in “any areas in which customers interact with one another or with staff members” or “any areas that are open or accessible to members of the public” except where “the area is outside, whether or not the area is covered (e.g. a restaurant patio).”

The Health Unit’s order also requires commercial establishments to make alcohol-based hand rub available at all entrances and exits “for the use of all Persons entering or exiting the Establishment.”

The order says the wearing of a face covering is not required at the following, even if they would otherwise fall within the definition of a commercial establishment:

  • Churches or faith settings
  • Day camps
  • Day care centres
  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Offices that are not open to members of the public
  • Professional offices where clients receive purchased services (e.g. lawyer’s/accountant’s office) that are not open to members of the public
  • Private transportation (bus/taxi/limo)
  • Hospitals
  • Independent health facilities
  • Offices of regulated health professionals
  • Golf courses
  • Fitness facilities/gyms

The details of the order and frequently asked questions can be found on the Health Unit’s website.

Last updated: Tuesday June 23rd, 3:42pm

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