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Brantford, Ont., passes mandatory mask bylaw, reports coronavirus cases in 2 workplaces

Brantford, Ont. councillors voted unanimously in favour of mandatory mask bylaw which is set to begin on Friday July 17, 2020.
Brantford, Ont. councillors voted unanimously in favour of mandatory mask bylaw which is set to begin on Friday July 17, 2020. Don Mitchell / Global News

Brantford, Ont. will enter Stage 3 of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Friday with a mandatory face mask bylaw for public spaces.

Councillors said yes on Tuesday to the draft brought forward by the city’s emergency operations centre (EOC) last week.

“I truly hope most people will think of wearing a mask not as an infringement of their freedom, but rather the simplest, easiest act of kindness they can show their fellow citizens,” Mayor Kevin Davis said during deliberations during a special council meeting.

The bylaw requires the wearing of face coverings in enclosed public places as per guidelines set out by the medical officer of health for Ontario, Public Health Canada and the World Health Organization.

Read more: 111 new coronavirus cases, 1 death in Ontario; total cases at 36,950

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The exceptions include children under the age of two, kids from three to five who can’t be persuaded by a caregiver to wear a mask, anyone who can’t use a mask without assistance, those with medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear a face-covering, workers behind physical barriers or in non-public areas, and first-responders acting in the course of their duties.

Most businesses and public spaces that have not been able to open in the previous two stages of the province’s reopening plan will now be able to do so on Friday in the county, with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

The list includes stores, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, museums, galleries, libraries, and some areas of commercial and municipal buildings.

However, amusement parks, water parks, buffets, restaurants and bars with dancing, camps for kids, karaoke rooms, contact sports, saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses, oxygen bars and casino table games are not permitted.

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In Tuesday’s decision, the city also agreed to spend $20,000 on an awareness campaign to educate the public on the importance of wearing a face covering. Council also agreed to allocate another $20,000 to supply those who cannot afford a mask.

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Brant County reports 2 workplace coronavirus cases

During a pandemic update on Tuesday, Brant County’s acting medical officer of health reported two positive COVID-19 test results connected to three Brantford-area workplaces.

Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke said a second employee at the Lowe’s Brantford location tested positive in early July. Brant County’s Health Unit (BCHU) says the transmission details of this case are still under investigation, but it’s believed the case is unrelated to a previous case revealed on July 7.

Read more: Ontario health care workers plan work interruption in response to emergency orders

“We believe this case is unrelated to the previously announced case at this workplace and was acquired from interactions outside of the store,” said Urbantke.

“This employee’s duties do not put them in direct contact with customers.”

BCHU is recommending anyone who visited the store between June 28 and July 9 to monitor for symptoms and arrange for testing if they believe they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

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Meanwhile, the health unit also received a positive test result on Monday from an employee who worked at both the Ferrero plant in Brantford and the Adidas Warehouse in Brant County.

“This individual is a contact of a previously confirmed case not associated with either workplace,” said Urbantke.

BCHU says Ferrero has asked additional employees who may have come in contact with the case to stay home and seek testing before returning to work, despite being regarded as “low risk for transmission.”

Read more: Mobile mask disinfection system launches in Hamilton

An investigation into the details of the individual’s work at the Adidas Warehouse is still on-going, according to Urbantke.

Brant County reports 1 new COVID-19 case

Brant County’s health unit (BCHU) reported one new COVID-19 case on Tuesday. The region has 134 total confirmed cases as of July 14.

The county still has four deaths, with 119 total resolved cases. There are no COVID-19 patients currently in hospital.

The region has one institutional outbreak ​at Briarwood Gardens Long-Term Care & Retirement Home. On Saturday, one staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The home had a previous outbreak that started at the end of April and ended in mid-May.

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Coronavirus: The unanswered questions around COVID-19
Coronavirus: The unanswered questions around COVID-19

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.