Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/July 7, 2020 – Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) continues to work in partnership with local businesses and municipalities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As indicated on July 2, HPEPH strongly recommends that individuals wear face coverings in situations where physical distancing may not be possible. To further support local communities, HPEPH continues to engage in productive discussions with local municipal leaders to identify and respond to community needs.
Under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act Stage 2, businesses must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials. To date, such instructions have included requirements for physical distancing, cleaning, disinfecting, and other sector-specific directions. As an additional preventive measure, direction is being provided to businesses/commercial establishments operating in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties that, beginning July 10, 2020 at noon, policies must be in place to ensure that individuals entering indoor commercial premises are wearing non-medical masks/face coverings. Certain exemptions may apply to ensure that no individual is excluded from society if they are unable to wear a face covering (see attached fact sheet).
HPEPH expects to work in partnership with local municipalities and businesses to enforce these requirements “in good faith”. Businesses are being asked to develop these policies to reinforce existing public health recommendations to wear face coverings.
“Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is an additional preventive measure that, when combined with other infection control efforts, will help further reduce the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Alexa Caturay, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “Clear policies in commercial establishments will help reinforce use of non-medical masks and face coverings. We are committed to working together with local municipalities and businesses to implement appropriate, proactive, infection control approaches and keep our community safe.”
The complete letter to businesses, frequently asked questions, and well as additional information about how to wear a mask safely, is available on the HPEPH website, hpePublicHealth.ca. The website also includes additional information and answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19. Individuals who still have questions about the order after reviewing web content can call the HPEPH COVID-19 information line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803 during regular business hours.
Audio clip for media use: Dr. Alexa Caturay discusses the new requirements for face coverings in commercial spaces.
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Face Covering Requirements for Commercial Establishments in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties
- Face coverings or non-medical masks are strongly recommended throughout the HPEPH catchment area, in all public situations where physical distancing may not be possible.
- In addition, effective 12:00 pm on July 10, 2020, commercial businesses operating in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties (HPEC) are required to have a policy in place that prohibits entry to individuals who are not wearing a non-medical mask/face covering.
- These policies will be enforced “in good faith” with a focus on education and reminders about requirements under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act Stage 2.
- Those who do not comply with these 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.
- A person shall be exempt from wearing a non-medical mask or face covering on the premises if:
- the person is a child under the age of two years; or a child under the age of five years chronologically or developmentally and cannot be persuaded to wear a face covering by their caregiver;
- the person has a medical condition rendering them unable to wear a non-medical mask or face covering safely;
- the person cannot apply or remove a non-medical mask or face covering without assistance;
- the person cannot wear a non-medical mask or face covering or cannot cover their face in a way that would appropriately control the source of droplets for reasons of religion or other protections under the Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H. 19, as amended;
- the person is employed by or an agent of the operator of an enclosed public space and that space is:
- not designated for public access,
- within or behind a physical barrier (i.e. Plexiglass).
- Businesses throughout the HPEC region shall also ensure that the place of business or facility is operated to enable members of the public in the place of business or facility to, to the fullest extent possible, maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons. In additional, all businesses must comply with instructions from public health regarding infection control, hand hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting.
For information about how to wear a mask safely, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca