As of 12:01 pm Tuesday July 28, 2020, wearing non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all enclosed (indoor) public spaces in Durham Region, according to Durham Health.
Durham Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Kyle, has issued updated instructions to expand the use of mandatory face coverings to all indoor, enclosed public spaces throughout Durham Region.
“Although many members of our community are currently wearing face coverings as outlined in my instructions from July 6, there continues to be a risk for increased cases of Covid-19 in the community during Stage 3. Mandatory face coverings in indoor, enclosed public spaces during Stage 3 will help us to continue to reduce the risk of increased spread of illness and aligns with other regions and municipalities, and other public health units,” said Dr Kyle in an issued statement.
Some establishments have separate guidelines and regulations and are not included in these instructions, such as schools, childcare centres, day camps, places of worship, hospitals, offices not open to members of the public, and outdoor spaces.
The Health Department will focus enforcement activities on educating community members about the mandatory requirements for non-medical masks or face coverings. Business operators should make every effort to remind customers to wear a face covering, but also be mindful that some in our community may be unable to wear a face covering for very valid reasons, said the statement.
“I ask all area residents and business operators to be respectful, work together and recognize that some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering for various reasons including health concerns, age or religious reasons. Business operators should not deny access to goods or services if a face covering cannot be worn, and no person is required to provide proof of exemption.
“Please remember to continue to practise physical distancing wherever possible even when wearing a face covering, and refer to Health Department resources on how to keep safe while using your non-medical face mask or face covering, choosing a proper non-medical face mask or face covering, and how to make a no sew mask,” he added.
Enclosed public spaces
Enclosed public spaces are indoor public spaces of businesses or organizations accessed by the public, where the public interact with each other and with staff. These currently include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Places where goods and services are sold:
- retail stores,
- food stores,
- indoor farmers’ markets and flea markets,
- gas stations,
- malls, food courts and plazas,
- mechanic shops, garages and repair shops,
- personal service settings,
- open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes.
- Municipal facilities (libraries, community centres).
- Indoor attractions, including art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, games rooms, arcades, paintball, bowling, indoor play spaces and other similar facilities.
- Event spaces, including banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, auditoriums, and other similar facilities.
- Common areas of commercial buildings, hotels, motels and other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities.
- Indoor entertainment facilities and venues, including concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other similar facilities.
- Athletic facilities, including gyms, fitness centres, studios, dojos, and sports and recreational centres, and other similar facilities (masks do not need to be worn when engaging in physical activity, but are required in common areas).
- Dining establishments, including indoor restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, nightclubs and other similar facilities (when not sitting at the table).
- Private transportation services such as taxis, shuttles, limousine services, and other similar ride-share programs.
The areas of all enclosed (indoor) public spaces that are subject to the non-medical mask and face covering requirements are:
- Any areas in which customers interact with one another or with staff members, OR
- 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).