Masks required in Sudbury businesses and on public transit starting July 8
SUDBURY -- Public Health Sudbury and Districts has issued an order mandating businesses in Sudbury to require customers to wear masks when they enter the property.
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the area's medical officer of health, is also requiring passengers aboard city transit vehicles to wear masks. Both directives take effect on July 8.
“The face-covering requirement for commercial premises that are open to the public is in addition to the diligent work many are already doing to ensure physical distancing and hand sanitizers," Sutcliffe said in a news release Friday. "Face coverings are extra protection to prevent COVID-19 spread, they also send a message that the wearer wants to protect others.”
She said the measures are in tandem with the gradual reopening of the province, which brings new risks of spreading the virus.
“Establishing common expectations about routine face-covering helps reduce this risk now and will pave the way to successful Stage 3 re-opening," Sutcliffe said. "It will also help protect us against a potential second wave in the fall and keep businesses and services up and running.”
As of July 8, city transit and businesses will have to have policies in place to stop people from entering if they are not wearing a face covering. The instructions are being issued under the authority of the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Public Health Sudbury said.
Businesses don't have to turn away customers
While commercial establishments are expected to use their best efforts to implement their face covering policies, there is no requirement that a business must turn away the customer not wearing a mask.
"This is in line with the 'good faith' enforcement framework of the Public Health Sudbury & Districts instructions, which builds on education and reminders," the release said.
In the instruction letter sent out Friday, all employers are reminded of their ongoing responsibilities to maintain two metres distance between employees and clients, to screen employees and members of the public for COVID-19 symptoms, and to promote excellent hygiene practices including handwashing.
For the purposes of the directive, a face-covering means a medical or non-medical mask or other face coverings such as a bandana, a scarf or cloth that covers the mouth and nose. Certain exemptions apply, for example, based on age or medical circumstances.
“I encourage everyone to be kind, patient, and respectful to one another," Sutcliffe said. "How we navigate this pandemic is our individual and our shared responsibility. These latest instructions continue to count on everyone’s best intentions and my confidence is well placed. I fully expect we will show the province and the world how to do this right."
Growing evidence shows the widespread use of face coverings decreases the spread of respiratory droplets, and expert opinion supports the widespread use of face coverings to decrease transmission of COVID-19.
Public Health is also reminding residents to follow public health guidance—wash your hands; cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay two metres apart from others; wear your face covering, and stay home when ill.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. People who are asymptomatic, who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 are also encouraged to contact an assessment centre and get tested.
For more information please visit the health unit's website or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).