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Workplaces Issued Formal Instructions On Proper Use of Face Coverings

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All employers of commercial establishments will be issued instructions on face coverings in Huron and Perth. This will go into effect next Friday.

HURON/PERTH COUNTY – Formal instructions on face coverings in all commercial establishments will be issued to employers in Huron and Perth. The face masks, which go into effect on July 17th, will be issued by Medical Officer of Health for Huron and Perth counties Dr. Miriam Klassen.

These instructions will require business owners to implement a policy for the use of nonmedical masks or face coverings; including the expectation that people entering will wear a face covering. The instructions will also be under the authority of the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Face coverings will be required in commercial establishments, including retail and convenience stores; malls; enclosed farmers’ markets; and business offices with space open to the public. A face covering can be either a medical or non-medical mask or other face coverings like a bandana, a scarf or a cloth that covers the mouth and nose.

Certain exemptions apply, based on medical circumstances.

Dr. Klassen says the face coverings prevent further spread of the virus and protect others as well.

“These additional instructions for commercial establishments that are open to the public build upon the diligent work many are already doing to ensure physical distancing and hand sanitizers. Face coverings are extra protection to prevent COVID-19 spread; they also send a message that the wearer wants to protect others.”

As we work towards a successful Stage 3 re-opening, we also increase the risk of spreading the virus.

"Normalizing the use of masks helps reduce this risk and helps keep businesses and services up and running. We ask everyone to be kind and understanding when others can’t wear masks, and to physically distance from them.”

Operators of commercial establishments are expected to implement these policies as best they can. This means signs and verbal reminders are used but it’s not required a business must turn the customer away. This “good faith” enforcement framework is in line with Huron Perth Public Health enforcement, which builds on education and reminders.

The instructions will also remind employers of their ongoing responsibilities to maintain a physical distance of two metres between employees and clients, screen employees and the public for COVID-19 symptoms, and to promote excellent hygiene practices including hand washing.

Official instructions will be posted on Huron Perth Public Health’s website by Monday, July 13 and shared with operators as well. HHPH’s website will also post supplementary resources for operators of commercial establishments.

Dr. Klassen says the instructions will help people get into the habit of using face coverings.

“These instructions will help as many people as possible to routinely use face coverings to protect one another. People in Huron Perth have done a great job of helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19; so as we prepare for Stage 3 with additional precautions, I ask everyone to be kind, patient, and respectful to one another. We must work together to stay healthy while resuming our businesses, services and activities in a new way.”

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