The HKPR District Health Unit has issued an order effective July 13, that all “Operator(s) of an enclosed Public Space will have a policy to ensure that no member of the public is permitted to enter or remain in the public areas of the enclosed public space unless they are wearing a mask in a manner that covers their nose, mouth and chin.” Affected establishments include stores, malls/plazas, restaurants, personal service settings, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets – any areas open to the public. Outdoor patios are excepted. Enforcement will be primarily aimed at the “operators” with the intent being to educate individuals. Medical Officer for Health Dr. Lynn Noseworthy said: “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.”
- Owners and operators of commercial establishments currently operating during Stage 2 will be required to have policies in place to stop people from entering the establishment if they are not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering.
- Instructions for masking are effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 13, 2020. Non-medical masks or face coverings will be required in commercial establishments currently operating during Stage 2 while the provincial Emergency Orders remain in force or until such time as these instructions are discontinued by the local Medical Officer of Health.
- Commercial establishments are premises that are openly accessible to members of the public and are used for the purposes of offering goods or services for sale to members of the public and include a mall or other structure containing commercial premises, and currently include the following:
- Retail stores, convenience stores, malls/plazas, restaurants, personal service settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets, areas of mechanics’ shops/ garages/ repair shops, which are open to the public (Photo of No-Frills on 27 March)
- Face shields are not equivalent to non-medical masks or face coverings for source protection and are best suited to be used as addition personal protection equipment in addition to a non-medical mask or other face covering but not alone.
- Establishments that do not fall under the definition of a commercial establishment are:
- Schools, child care centres, business offices that are not open to members of the public, professional offices where clients receive purchased services (e.g., lawyers’ offices) that are not open to members of the public, hospitals, independent health facilities, offices of regulated health professionals.
- Exempt individuals include young children, a person who is unable to remove their mask without assistance or has a medical or religious reason.
- Members of the public are permitted the temporary removal of a mask where necessary for the purpose of:
- receiving services (including eating or drinking when dine-in services are allowed) or
- while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity including water-based activities.
- Although only one case is spelled out (restaurant patios), this does not apply outdoors since it specifically applies to indoors.
- People in an Enclosed Public Space who remove their mask for extended periods of time, will receive a verbal reminder of the requirement to wear a mask
- Public Health Inspectors from the HKPR District Health Unit, as well as municipal bylaw and local police officers will be involved in providing additional education and enforcement to operators of commercial establishments.
- As per the EMCPA (Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act), those businesses that do not comply with the requirements may be liable for a fine of $750 to $1,000 for an individual, to a maximum of $100,000 or in the case of a corporation, not more than $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.
- Can a person be refused service for not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering? The requirement should be enforced in “good faith” and any person not wearing a mask will receive a verbal reminder from the staff of the establishment. There is no a need for a business to turn away the customer to achieve the best effort standard.
Note that employees are included in the order.
My personal observation is that less than 50% of people in Cobourg currently wear masks indoors.
The order is in effect until such time as the Medical Officer for Health for HKPR District Health Unit lifts it.