My mask protects you, and your mask protects me.
On Monday, July 6th, Medical Officers of Health from Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit; Renfrew County and District Health and Ottawa Public Health announced a regional approach to the use of masks in their respective jurisdictions.
On Wednesday, July 15, City Council approved a temporary by-law to make masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. This includes restaurants, stores, places of worship, sports facilities, community venues, hotel lobbies and the public areas of City and health facilities. Masks continue to be required on transit and transit property. Residents are encouraged to continue practicing physical distancing, wash their hands frequently and stay home when sick.
More information on the directive for Ottawa, including a FAQ, can be found here.
Each public health unit will be invoking a directive under the Province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that requires individuals to wear a mask in certain enclosed public spaces. Under the directive, the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.
Masks are not required for young children, people with medical conditions and disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a mask, and people who can’t put on or remove their mask without assistance. More information is available on ottawapublichealth.ca/masks.
Operators of these spaces are required to inform patrons of the new mask requirement verbally and with proper signs at all public entrances and in common areas of indoor spaces. If a patron refuses to wear a mask and is not exempted, the operator can contact the City for assistance. By-law officers will primarily focus on educating residents about masks. If further action is required, there may be charges with fines.
“Increasing scientific evidence indicates that wearing a mask is an important measure in reducing COVID-19 transmission. It is important to have a clear and consistent regionalized approach to mandatory masks across the Champlain region, especially as we are in the middle of peak travel season. The overarching message is this: along with other public health recommendations such as physical distancing, washing your hands often and staying home when you are sick, wearing a mask when in an enclosed public space will help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health with Ottawa Public Health
The mask must cover your mouth, nose and chin to prevent respiratory droplets from your mouth and nose from reaching others or landing on surfaces. It is important for Ottawa residents to know how to properly wear a mask, as per Ottawa Public Health’s guidance. Learn more about how to properly wear a mask, and where to purchase a mask at OttawaPublicHealth.ca/masks.
Please be kind, not everyone can wear a mask.
The policy will be enacted and enforced in good faith and will be primarily used as a means to educate people on mandatory mask use in enclosed public spaces.
Wearing a mask is an additional action to take in being COVIDWise and is not a substitute for the need for isolating yourself when sick, staying two metres apart from others and exercising proper hand hygiene.
For more information on masks, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/masks.