What can I do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

 

There are a number of ways that people can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

 

All Ontarians should also be taking the following actions to protect their health:

  • Practice Physical Distancing
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer - Hand Hygiene
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home if you are sick or unwell.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces frequently

 

Rogers TV - Face Coverings

 

WHO COVID

 

The Ontario government has released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria for the loosening of emergency measures, and guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.

In alignment with Stage 3, the Grey Bruce Health Unit Medical Officer of Health has issued an order for mandatory mask or face covering use in commercial establishments. This frequently asked question (FAQ) document aims to provide more information on this order as well as to provide information about face covering and mask use.

What actions does the order require from the commercial establishment per definition within this order?

  1. To the fullest extent possible, ensure effective measures are in place in the Commercial Establishment to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres amongst all employees and clients.
  2. To the fullest extent possible, ensure the availability of alcohol-based hand rub at all entrances and exits for the use of all Persons entering or exiting the Establishment.
  3. Use Best Efforts (as defined in this Order) to restrict Persons from entering the premises of the Commercial Establishment or remaining within the premises if the said Person is not wearing a Face Covering. The Face Covering must be worn inside the Establishment at all times, unless it is reasonably required to temporarily remove the Face Covering for services provided by the Establishment.

Who does not have to wear a mask/face covering?

  • PLEASE NOTE: self-declaration/parental declaration of the following is sufficient to be exempted from wearing face covering.
  • The Person is a child under the age of 2 years; or a child under the age of 5 years either chronologically or developmentally and he or she refuses to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver;
  • The Person is incapacitated and unable to remove their mask/face covering without assistance;
  • Wearing a Face Covering would inhibit the Person’s ability to breathe in any way;
  • For any other medical reason, the Person cannot safely wear a Face Covering such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information.
  • The obligation to provide reasonable accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code requires exemption from this order/requirement.

I own a business and want to refuse customers from entering, can I?

  • If a business wants to refuse entry to someone for not wearing a face covering, they cannot do so citing the Order.  However, the Order does not affect any other rights or entitlements a business may have to refuse service (Trespass to Property Act) which are not related to this order. These rights are at your own discretion and risk
  • The Order was designed to increase awareness of the community to prompt positive choice. The best practice and evidence show that most people comply "do the right thing" without the need of enforcement similar to seatbelt laws.
  • The Health Unit does not provide legal advice to businesses and recommends that any business wishing to refuse service to customers without face coverings seek independent legal advice about their rights and obligations before taking any action.

 

Why Is the Order happening now?

  1. COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus, is designated as a disease of public health significance and a communicable disease pursuant to Ontario Regulation 135/18 made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  2. COVID-19 can cause acute and severe respiratory illness and death in humans.
  3. The spread of COVID-19 is of immediate and compelling public health importance in the jurisdiction of the Grey Bruce Health Unit, because:
    1. On March 11, 2020, the spread of COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization;
    2. On March 17, 2020 the spread of COVID-19 was declared an emergency in Ontario pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.9, as amended, on the basis that COVID-19 constitutes a danger of major proportions;
    3. States of Emergency were subsequently declared by the Counties of Grey and Bruce in response to COVID-19;
    4. As of this Order’s effective date, there is evidence of continued community transmission of COVID-19 within the territory and jurisdiction of the Grey Bruce Health Unit, as evidenced by newly identified cases not connected to facility outbreaks or travel.
  4. COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person predominantly through respiratory droplets that are released from the nose and mouth, through contact with contaminated surfaces, and through poor hand hygiene.
  5. COVID-19 may be transmitted from persons who have minimal or no signs or symptoms of illness.
  6. Accumulating epidemiological evidence indicates that the widespread use of Face Coverings by all persons decreases spread of respiratory droplets, and expert medical opinions support the widespread use of Face Coverings to decrease transmission of COVID-19.
  7. Use of Face Coverings is recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada in situations where physical distancing (spatial separation of individuals by at least two metres) is difficult to maintain.
  8. The Provincial Stage 3 re-opening plan includes permitted activities with high contact intensity and that require significant modifications to maintain public health safety.
  9. Re-opening of Commercial Establishments will increase the frequency of contact and limit opportunities for physical distancing between persons in the jurisdiction of the Grey Bruce Health Unit which, absent adequate preventative measures, will increase the risk of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in the jurisdiction and territory of the Grey Bruce Health Unit.
  10. An increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 will increase disease transmission, potential for outbreaks in congregate settings, and the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 within the population of the jurisdiction and territory of the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

What locations are included in this order?

Commercial Establishment and Establishment mean those portions of a fixed commercial premise or place that are openly accessible to members of the public and that are used for the purposes of offering goods or services for sale to members of the public and includes a mall or other structure containing a number of commercial premises, without limiting the generality of the foregoing examples.

The areas of a Commercial Establishment that are subject to the Face Covering requirements of this Order are:

  • Any areas in which customers interact with one another or with staff members, AND,
  • Any areas that are open or accessible to members of the public,
  • Except where:
    • The area is outside, whether or not the area is covered (e.g. a restaurant patio); or,
    • The area is designated for aquatic activity (e.g. while being in a swimming pool).

Examples of Commercial Establishment and Establishment, without limiting the definition above, include the following:

  • Retail stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Malls/plazas
  • Restaurants/bars/taverns
  • Personal service settings
  • Grocery stores and bakeries
  • Gas stations
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Areas of Mechanics’ shops/garages/repair shops which are open to the public
  • Car dealerships
  • Indoor play zones/arcades/art studios
  • Cinemas/Performing Arts/Theatres
  • Indoor arenas/sporting venues as a spectator
  • Public indoor tours of facilities
  • Casinos/charitable gaming halls including horse racing
  • Fitness facilities/gyms/indoor sports facilities/studios
  • Common areas of hotels/motels

For greater clarity, examples of areas that are or are not subject to the Face Covering requirements of this Order are as follows:

 

Example Establishment

Parts of the Establishment Covered by the Order (Examples)

Parts of the Establishment Not Covered by the Order (Examples)

Retail Store

  • Retail floor/aisles
  • Cashier area/queues
  • Service desks/counters
  • Publicly accessible washrooms
  • Staff lounge not accessible to the public
  • Stock/storage room not accessible to the public
  • Workshop/service room not accessible to the public
  • Private office (e.g. manager’s office)
  • Shipping/receiving area not accessible to the public
  • Outdoor patios/display areas that form part of the retail store (e.g. outdoor garden centre)

Gas Station (self-serve)

  • Inside the gas station store/kiosk
  • Pump area

Restaurant/Bar/Tavern

  • Indoor take-out counters
  • Indoor dining area when not seated for your meal (once seated, you may remove your mask/face covering)
  • Food preparation areas that are open to the public
  • Outdoor drive-through windows
  • Outdoor dining area
  • Kitchen area that is physically separated from dining area and not accessible to the public
  • Staff lounge not accessible to the public
  • Stock/storage room not accessible to the public
  • Private office (e.g. manager’s office)
  • Shipping/receiving area not accessible to the public

Mall/Plaza

  • Indoor areas accessible to members of the public
  • Outdoor areas accessible to the public
  • Administrative offices, service areas, or other areas that are not accessible to the public

Farmer’s Market

  • Indoor areas accessible to the public
  • Outdoor areas
  • Areas not accessible to the public

Fitness facility/gym/ indoor sport facility or studio including pools

  • Reception area
  • Common areas not used for activities
  • Other indoor areas accessible to the public
  • While using equipment
  • While in exercise class
  • Pool/spa area
  • Showers/ change room

Amusement Park (when open)/Indoor Play Zone/ Arcade/Art Studio

  • Indoor areas accessible to the public
  • Outdoor areas
  • Areas not accessible to the public

Theatre/Performing Arts Show/Cinema or Movie Theatre

  • Lobby
  • Concession stand
  • Theatre seating
  • Publicly accessible washrooms
  • Other indoor areas accessible to the public
  • Outdoor areas
  • Areas not accessible to the public

Car Dealership

  • Indoor sales floor
  • Service desks/counters
  • Publicly accessible washrooms
  • Outdoor sales lot
  • Parking lot

Indoor arena or sporting venue

  • Lobby
  • Concession stand
  • Stands/seating areas
  • Publicly accessible washrooms
  • Other indoor areas accessible to the public
  • Outdoor areas
  • Areas not accessible to the public

Indoor facility offering public tours

  • All indoor areas accessible as part of a guided (including self-guided) tour
  • Other indoor areas accessible to the public
  • Outdoor areas
  • Areas not accessible to the public

Casino/Charitable Gaming Hall/Horse Racing 

  • Lobby
  • Casino floor/gaming hall floor
  • Stands/seating areas
  • Outdoor areas
  • Areas not accessible to the public

Hotel/Motel

  • Common areas of building
  • Shared indoor amenities (e.g. lounges, restaurants, parking garage)
  • Personal room or suite
  • Pool/spa area
  • Outdoor areas

 

What places are not included in this order and why?

The following are exempt and not subject to this Order even if they would otherwise fall within the definition of a Commercial Establishment:

  • Churches or faith settings
  • Day camps
  • Day care centres
  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Offices that are not open to members of the public
  • Professional offices where clients receive purchased services (e.g. lawyer’s/accountant’s office) that are not open to members of the public
  • Private transportation (bus/taxi/limo)
  • Public transportation (bus/train)
  • Hospitals,
  • Independent health facilities,
  • Offices of regulated health professionals
  • Federal Offices/Building (E.g. Post Offices)
  • First Nation’s Establishments within the First Nation’s boundaries

We strongly recommend masks/face covering use in these facilities as outlined in the Order.  It is urged that face coverings be used as per current recommendations, and per the policy of the premises in which you are entering

Those already covered under provincial regulations

The following are governed under Provincial Regulations related to the Provincial Emergency Order. If we include them in the Order, Operators of these sectors will face multiple conflicting jurisdictional issues related to having to meet the expectations of the two separate authorities. Further complication and uncertainty can result, should the Provincial Regulations changed in the future, which is often the case with these regulations:

  • Churches or faith settings
  • Day camps
  • Day care centres
  • Schools

 

Municipal/County facilities

We strongly recommend that municipalities mandate face covering use in these facilities as outlined in the Order.

The following are facilities controlled by municipalities. Municipalities would be implementing the same actions listed in the order through organizational policies based on the language Strongly Recommended instead of through the MOH Order. This follows the principle of Least Intrusive meaning the objective has been already achieved through less intrusive means, so there is no need to serve an order to willing participants. These locations will support mask and face covering use through their own municipal policies.    

  • Libraries
  • Community centres

 

Transportation Services

The following businesses are exempt for three reasons.

  • First, the businesses running these transportation properties (vehicles) may not be in receipt of the Order as they might be located in jurisdictions other than Grey and Bruce Counties.
  • Second, the vehicles may cross jurisdictional boundaries, making it impractical and confusing to the public to know when they enter a jurisdiction that is covered under the Order.
  • Third reason applies to public transportation - this is under municipal control and mandating mask/face covering use would be achieved through municipal policies.
  • Private transportation (bus/taxi/limo)
  • Public transportation (bus/train)

We strongly recommend face covering use in these services as outlined in the Order.

 

Regulated through own protocols

The following sectors are exempt because they are already regulated through their own protocols.  Furthermore, for professional offices, although they serve the public, access to these offices is controlled through an appointment only system and usually has very low numbers of people on site at one time. Offices that are not open to members of the public:

  • Professional offices where clients receive purchased services (e.g. lawyer’s/accountant’s office) that are not open to members of the public
  • Hospitals,
  • Independent health facilities

We strongly recommend face covering use in these services as outlined in the Order.

Is wearing a mask or face covering still recommended in the locations that are excluded?

Yes. Wearing a mask or face covering is strongly recommended in situations where physical distancing is a challenge.

What is considered a face covering?

  • “Face Covering” means: a medical mask or a non-medical mask or other items used to cover the face such as a bandana, a scarf or cloth that covers the mouth, nose and chin ensuring a barrier that limits the transmission of infectious respiratory droplets.

Do face coverings or masks protect against COVID-19?

  • Wearing a mask or face covering helps reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 if you are sick and protects people who are around you. Since persons may be transmitting the disease while having minimal or no signs or symptoms of illness, they should wear a face covering. When other people wear a face covering, they are helping to protect you.
  • Mask/face coverings wearing cannot guarantee protection from the virus and should not replace proven measures such as frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding groups of people and crowded spaces, practicing physical distancing and staying at home if you are sick.

How do I properly wear a face covering/mask?

  • Immediately wash your hands before putting the mask/face covering on, before adjusting it, before taking it off and after taking it off. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash your hands.
  • Make sure your mask/face covering allows for easy breathing and completely and comfortably covers the bridge of the nose, covers your mouth, fits snugly under your chin and against the sides of your face. 
  • Make sure your mask/face covering is secured to your head with ties or ear loops without the need to adjust frequently.
  • If your mask/face covering has pleats, ensure that the pleats on the outside are facing down.
  • If your mask/face covering has a metal strip over the nose, gently mould it over the bridge of your nose to ensure a close fit.
  • Replace the mask/face covering as soon as it becomes damp, dirty, damaged or if it has shrunk after washing and drying.
  • Avoid touching your mask/face covering to adjust it. This can contaminate your hands. If you do touch your mask/face covering, wash your hands.
  • Do not share your mask/face covering with others, even within your own household.
  • Masks/face coverings are not all made the same and may fit differently. Find a mask/face covering that fits your face and learn how to wear your mask/face covering.
  • To protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

How do I wash and reuse my mask/face covering?

  • Wearing a mask or face covering can increase your risk of infection if you touch your face more frequently to adjust it or if you do not wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off. All parts of masks or face coverings can become contaminated by breathing or when touched by your hands.
  • Masks or face coverings become contaminated, especially when touched by your hands.
  • After washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, remove your mask/face covering by pulling the ties or ear loops away from your ears.
  • If your mask/face covering has a removable, non-reusable filter, make sure to remove and throw out the filter before machine or hand washing your mask.
  • Clean surfaces that your mask/face covering touches
  • For machine washing, put the mask/face covering directly into the washing machine or in a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine. Throw out the bag after you have used it to store your mask. If the bag is washable, you can wash it with your mask/face covering. Wash your hands again with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after handling your mask/face covering.
  • Wash the masks/face covering with other laundry using a hot water cycle. 
  • For hand washing, use laundry detergent and water as hot as you can stand, then dry thoroughly.
  • When discarding damaged or worn out masks/face covering, drop them in a lined garbage bin.
  • Do not leave any discarded masks/face covering in places where others can be exposed to them such as shopping carts, public seats, and bus stops or on the ground.
  • Cloth masks/face coverings can be re-used throughout the day if not soiled and undamaged. With clean hands, remove the mask from your face and fold it in half so that the outer surface is inwards (so that the contaminated outer surface is not contacting anything during storage) and place it in a clean, sealable bag until ready to use it again the same day.
  • Disposable masks/face coverings should not be washed, reused or recycled. 

How can I make a cloth mask or face covering?

You can use a bandana or scarf as a face covering. There are also different ways to make your own non-medical mask, including a new-sew method using a tshirt. Visit Health Canada’s website for sew and no-sew instructions to make a homemade face covering.

Health Canada indicates that non-medical face masks or face coverings should:

  • allow for easy breathing
  • fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops
  • maintain their shape after washing and drying
  • be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment
  • be made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen)
  • be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

Can a face shield be used instead of a mask/face covering?

  • A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a mask/face covering, as it does not filter respiratory droplets. A face shield may provide additional protection for the wearer against droplets expelled from another person, however these droplets may still be inhaled around the shield. Respiratory droplets expelled by the wearer may escape around the sides of the face shield, which therefore provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend - if possible - to wear it in addition to a properly fitted cloth masks.

For those that cannot wear a mask, is a face shield a good alternative?

  • A face shield would not be considered an equal substitute for a mask as it does not provide filtering capacity. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of face shields as a “better than nothing” alternative to masks/face coverings if there is a shortage of non-medical masks/face coverings or for populations who are not able to properly wear non-medical masks, such as individuals with a respiratory condition that prevents them from wearing a mask/face covering. The WHO makes note that face shields are inferior to face masks/face coverings at preventing the spread of an infection through droplets and at a minimum should extend below the chin and cover the sides of the face.   

My Workplace has Plexiglas barriers, do I need to wear a mask/face covering?

  • Workplaces are encouraged to have other safety measures in place. These include Plexiglas barriers, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures, and steps to ensure physical distancing. Employees are still required to wear face coverings when other safety measures are in place, in the areas that fall under this Order, unless they meet the required exception outlined below.  A face covering can be avoided if:

 

The physical barrier begins at the floor and reaches a minimum height of 8 feet to ensure that it will always be 12 inches higher than the tallest person in the facility. It must be as wide as the space/room will allow. 

 

See the table on pages 5 - 7 above for examples when a mask/face covering is not required in a commercial setting. These examples will help ensure consistency and avoid confusion among employers and the public.

 

What is the timeline for the order taking effect?

  • This mask/face covering order will coincide with stage 3 re-opening.  It will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020

Do I still need to stay 2 metres away from others if I am wearing a mask/face covering?

  • Yes. The business or facility operator shall ensure that the place of business or facility is operated to enable members of the public in the place of business or facility to, to the fullest extent possible, maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a 2-metre distance even when wearing a mask.

Does this order mean that masks must be worn in my apartment building or condominium?

  • No. Mandatory mask directive issued by the Grey Bruce Health Unit does not include residential buildings or condominiums. Residential building owners or condominium boards may choose to implement their own policies within their buildings.

What happens if I do not comply with the order?

  • The business or operator will use best efforts when restricting entry to customers wearing face coverings means the following:
    • Where an establishment has a person restricting occupancy into the premises, a verbal reminder that the customer should be wearing a face covering as a result of these instructions shall be given to any customer entering the premises without one. For greater clarity, there is not a need for a business to turn away the customer to achieve the best effort standard.
    • For customers in a premise seen removing their face covering for extended periods of time, a verbal reminder to that customer of the requirement to wear face coverings under these instructions.

Do I need to wear a mask/face covering outdoors?

  • This order is only for indoor use; however, certain situations that you cannot practice personal distancing outdoors can warrant wearing a mask/face covering.

Who will ensure face covering use?

  • The business or operator will use best efforts when restricting entry to customers wearing face coverings means the following:
    • Where an establishment has a person restricting occupancy into the premises, a verbal reminder that the customer should be wearing a face covering as a result of these instructions shall be given to any customer entering the premises without one. For greater clarity, there is not a need for a business to turn away the customer to achieve the best effort standard.
    • For customers in a premise seen removing their face covering for extended periods of time, a verbal reminder to that customer of the requirement to wear face coverings under these instructions.

I cannot afford a mask/face covering; where can I get one?

  • Bruce Power has donated 120,000 one-time masks/face coverings to local organizations including Chambers of Commerce and Food Banks in support of ensuring people have access in support of the re-opening. In addition, over July and August, the company will distribute 30,000 re-usable masks/face coverings through all employees, pensioners and a range of community organizations to support the need for masks in the community. Bruce Power is also launching a Program called ‘Strength in Numbers’ where it will offer organizations its bulk buying power so smaller organizations have access to this lower pricing. For organizations that are looking for information on these they can email info@brucepower.com
  • Many stores and business also have masks and face coverings for sale

If it is too hot to wear a mask/face covering, can I chose not to wear it?

  • Yes. People are exempt for any medical reason including heat-related health effects.
  • Mask do not need to be worn outdoors, in most situations, and most public places do have conditioned air to assist with the comfort of wearing a mask/face covering.

Who are the stakeholders that were consulted or informed during the preparation of the Order?

  • Wardens, Mayors and municipal CAOs from Grey and Bruce Counties
  • Chiefs of Police, Fire, and EMS of Grey and Bruce Counties
  • Prosecutor for Grey and Bruce Counties
  • MPs, MPPs from Grey and Bruce Counties
  • Other stakeholders such as Ministry of Health, Emergency Operations Centre (Ontario), Chief MOH, indigenous chiefs, other health units
  • Group discussion with private organizations, and business owners and operators
  • Most importantly, the public, represented by individual citizens or through the above stakeholders

I still have questions, where can I call?

Individuals and commercial operators may contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit COVID-19 Helpline (519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 3000) with specific questions or concerns.

Additional Resources

 

Physical Distancing Poster

Physical distancing means making changes to your everyday routines to limit close contact with others.

  • Keep a distance of at least 2 metres from others (that’s 6 feet, or a hockey stick!)
  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Avoid non-essential errands
  • Avoid gatherings or crowded places
  • Limit contact with people at high risk (older adults, people with compromised immune systems)
  • Work from home, if possible
  • Physical Distancing (Public Health Agency of Canada)

 

What not to do while physical distancing:

  • No dinner parties
  • No sleepovers
  • No playdates
  • No families or groups together at the grocery store
  • No having friends over for coffee
  • No extended family gatherings

 

Who should practice physical distancing?

Everyone! We all have a role in doing what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Remember: while you may not feel sick, and while we know these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others.

 

Anyone can take the COVID-19 self-assessment online to help determine how to seek further care and next steps. You can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.

 

It is just as important as ever to keep physically active for maintaining both physical and mental well-being. There are plenty of physical activities that can be done around the home. Some ideas include:

PhysicalActivity
  • Going outside for some fresh air, a walk, a run, or a bike ride is okay - just remember to keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) between yourself and others and don’t gather together in groups.
  • Online exercise classes
  • Jump rope
  • Stair stepping
  • Planking
  • Lunges
  • Cleaning
  • Weight lifting

 

Resources

WHO – Stay Physically Active During Quarantine 

Active for Life – 200 Activities You Can do with Kids at Home 

Finding Balance – Exercises at the Kitchen Sink

 

 

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