Local Health Unit Issues Requirement for Mask Use in Commercial Establishments

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has instructed area businesses today that they will need to have a policy in place that requires people to wear a non-medical mask or face covering before entering their commercial establishment taking effect at 12:01 am on July 13, 2020.

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health issued the instructions to owners and operators of commercial establishments currently open during Stage 2 of the province’s reopening.

“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,” says Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health for the HKPR District Health Unit.

“We need to do everything we can to avoid the chance of a resurgence in activity that we have seen in some other places.”

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy

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 retail stores, convenience stores, restaurants, personal services settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets, areas of mechanics’ shops/garages/repair shops, which are open to the public.

“Wearing a mask is about protecting other people,” Dr. Noseworthy added. “Reduces the likelihood that someone could unknowingly spread the virus to another person.”

The policy of the commercial establishment should be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and should be used as an opportunity to educate about the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in indoor commercial establishments.

Exemptions include children under the age of two years or a child under the age of five years, either chronologically or developmentally. A person incapacitated or unable to remove their mask without assistance, and for medical reasons including but not limited to respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information.

The use of masks will be required while the provincial Emergency Order remains in force or until such time that the health unit lifts the requirement.