Face masks to be mandatory in commercial businesses in Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, and Haliburton beginning July 13

Malls, convenience stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and more must require customers to wear a face covering, with some exceptions

A middle-aged man wearing a face mask in a store. (Stock photo)

Customers of commercial businesses in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, and Haliburton County will be required to wear masks beginning on Monday, July 13th.

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, medical officer of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, issued instructions on Tuesday (July 7) to the owners and operators of commercial establishments currently open during stage two of the province’s reopening, requiring that those businesses have a policy in place that requires people to wear a non-medical mask or face covering before entering their commercial establishment.

The instructions have been issued under the authority of Ontario Regulation 263/20 under the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA).

Advertisement - story continues below

 

 

“Although we have seen a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in our area, we want to be sure we continue to see a decrease as we move towards the reopening of more businesses within the province,” Dr. Noseworthy says. “We need to do everything we can to avoid the chance of a resurgence in activity that we have seen in some other places.”

There have been 171 cases of COVID-19 in the City of Kawartha Lakes (147 of which are resolved), 21 in Northumberland County (21 of which are resolved), and 10 in Haliburton County (nine of which resolved). The last positive case in Kawartha Lakes was on Friday, July 3rd, when two cases were reported.

The requirement for non-medical mask or face covering use within local businesses will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 13, 2020. The use of masks will be required while the provincial emergency order remains in force or until such time that the Ontario Ministry of Health lifts the requirement.

Under the health unit’s instructions, commercial establishments are premises that are openly accessible to members of the public and used for the purposes of offering goods or services for sale.

An establishment would include a mall or other structure containing commercial premises, including retail stores, convenience stores, restaurants, personal services settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets, and areas of mechanics’ shops, garages, or repair shops which are open to the public.

Dr. Noseworthy says wearing a mask is about protecting other people, and reduces the likelihood that someone could unknowingly spread the virus to another person.

“Provincially, we have seen a number of asymptomatic cases,” she says. “This is just another step in doing what we can to protect our family, friends, and neighbours in our communities.”

The health unit says it will be taking a “progressive enforcement approach” to ensure compliance, with a focus on education. The focus will be to educate people on the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in premises where physical distancing may be difficult. As per the EMCPA, businesses that do not comply with the requirements may be fined.

Additional education and enforcement will be conducted by health hnit staff, as well as by local municipal by-law officers and police officers.

Advertisement - story continues below

 

 

There are exemptions to the policy and a person will be exempt from wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in the premises if:

  • The person is a child under the age of two years.
  • The person is a child under the age of five 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.
  • The person is incapacitated and unable to remove their mask without assistance.
  • The person cannot safely wear a non-medical mask or face covering for any other medical reason, such as but not limited to respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties, or difficulties in hearing or processing information.
  • The person cannot wear a non-medical mask or face covering for any religious reason or cannot cover the face in a manner that would properly control the source.

For more information about the instructions requiring non-medical mask use or face coverings, visit the health unit’s website at www.hkpr.on.ca or call toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

A fact sheet and questions-and-answers document provided by the health unit are shown below.

Fact Sheet: Required Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings within Commercial Establishments
Fact Sheet: Required Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings within Commercial Establishments

Questions and Answers: Required Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings within Commercial Establishments
Questions and Answers: Required Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings within Commercial Establishments

Comments