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Public Health Sudbury says no to mandatory face masks

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has made them mandatory for indoor commercial settings, but local health unit only says they’re ‘highly recommended’
2020 hospital disposable gloves and mask

Public Health Sudbury & District said it is not planning on making the wearing of face masks mandatory for indoor commercial settings. reached out to the health unit after reading a story from that Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) was making the wearing of face coverings mandatory for customers and staff in commercial settings.

The WDGPH order includes all commercial establishments that provide goods and services, including grocery stores and large retail stores. Establishments not in compliance face a fine of up to $5,000. Commercial establishments must also provide alcohol-based hand rub at all entrances and exits.

Public Health Sudbury acknowledged the step its Guelph area counterpart had taken, but said locally it will stick with its own guideline that masks are highly recommended.

“Cloth or non-medical masks are highly recommended (but) … they are not mandatory in community settings,” said Jamie Lamothe, a spokesperson for Public Health Sudbury.

Masks, PHSD said, are an important tool to prevent spread of COVID-19 especially when two-metre distance between people not living in the same household can’t be maintained. 

“Wearing cloth or non-medical masks are understood to prevent others from potentially infectious respiratory droplets of the wearer. If I wear a mask I protect you. If you wear a mask you protect me,” PHSD said.

There are other essential measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan ramps up. These include health screening and illness policies, meticulous hand hygiene for staff and customers, covering the nose and mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze and ensuring physical distancing of two metres, as well as the use of non-medical masks when keeping distant isn’t possible.

“Workplaces are expected to support these measures for their employees and their clients,” the health unit said. “It is in everyone’s best interest. Businesses that implement measures that will work well for their circumstances will be well positioned for success in preventing the spread of COVID-19 now and into the future when more virus is anticipated to be circulating.”

If you are a business owner and you need some help in learning more about infection control measures, contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts for more information. The health unit has also made guidelines available here.