People will be required to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces in Simcoe County and Muskoka beginning July 13, the local health unit announced Tuesday.
This coming Monday, people will be required to wear a face covering inside businesses and organizations as well as while taking public transit.
“As we move through the stages of the reopening of the economy, there is an increased risk of resurgence of COVID-19 transmission in our communities,” Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit’s medical officer of health, said in a statement.
“Locally, we are seeing more visitors from other parts of the province with a much higher incidence of COVID-19, resulting in crowding in public spaces, and this has us concerned.”
The health unit will issue instructions to businesses and organizations across Simcoe County and Muskoka regarding setting up a mandatory mask policy. The instructions will be issued under the authority of Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
“There is emerging evidence that suggests the spread of COVID-19 can be reduced with a high level of compliance of non-medical mask use by the public,” Gardner said.
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The health unit says businesses and organizations will be expected to use their “best efforts” when requiring people to wear masks, which includes using signs and verbal reminders.
“There is no requirement, however, that a business turn away a customer who is not wearing a face covering,” the Simcoe Muskoka health unit says.
“In addition, there are certain exemptions including age, religious practices and medical circumstances.”
A face covering means a medical or non-medical mask or other face covering such as a bandana, scarf or cloth that covers the mouth and nose.