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face coveringsDetails are being finalized for the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Order with respect to the wearing of face coverings in certain indoor public spaces.

The Order will be implemented in conjunction with the provincial Stage 3 re-opening; optimally three days following the provincial announcement to provide sufficient time for affected parties to be adequately prepared.

Enforcement in general will be based on the good faith of individuals to participate as rigorous enforcement will not be desired.

The Order will enable establishment to require face covering use by employees and customers and the means to remind the customer that they should be wearing a face covering as a result of the Order. For greater clarity, there is not a need for to turn away the customer to achieve the best effort standard.

The Order would only apply to areas that are normally accessible to the general public and would not include areas not generally accessible to the public, such as the administrative area within the establishment.

Considerations will allow exemptions for children under the age of two years; or under the age of 5 years either chronologically or developmentally unable to tolerate face covering, or refuses to wear a face covering; for people who cannot tolerate face covering for any medical condition; or any reason required under the Human Rights Code. There is no need to provide a medical note.

Establishments in Grey and Bruce Counties may be able to obtain masks for no cost based on donations to make available to people who cannot purchase their own masks. For example, Bruce Power has donated 120,000 one-time masks to local organizations including Chambers of Commerce and Food Banks in support of ensuring people have access in support of the re-opening. In addition, over July and August, the company will distribute 30,000 re-usable masks through all employees, pensioners and a range of community organizations to support the need for masks in the community. Bruce Power is also launching a Program called ‘Strength in Numbers’ where it will offer organizations its bulk buying power so smaller organizations have access to this lower pricing. Organizations looking for information on these can email [email protected]

“Asking people to wear a face covering is another tool we can use to prevent spread of COVID-19.” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ian Arra. “We are seeing increasing complacency in the community with earlier recommendations of physical distancing. That and the Stage 3 re-opening plan will, by definition, include activities with highest contact intensity and that would require significant modifications to maintain public health safety. Mask use will reduce the risk for the most vulnerable of us.”

The Order will remain in place for four weeks, and can be renewed. This will provide time to develop more permanent solutions such as municipal by-laws or provincial regulations.

The Order is consistent with other health unit jurisdictions that have implemented or soon to implement face covering requirements.

See our website for more information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Wearing Masks and Face Coverings.

source: media release, Grey Bruce Health Unit

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