JOINT NEWS RELEASE
COUNTY OF SIMCOE
SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
MIDHURST - The County of Simcoe and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) are partnering to promote health and safety in our communities through a regional awareness campaign to encourage residents and visitors to wear face coverings or masks.
The new #WearIt campaign will support the SMDHU’s instruction requiring face coverings in publicly accessible indoor spaces and remind both residents and visitors to do their part to work towards our regional pandemic recovery.
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that the widespread use of face coverings by all persons decreases the spread of respiratory droplets, which can contain the COVID-19 virus of an infected person.
With new regulations requiring the public to wear a mask or face covering in stores and other indoor places, we can help to stop a second wave of COVID-19. If we all make our best effort to #WearIt, we’ll get through this pandemic together.
In addition to wearing a mask or face covering, these additional public health measures remain in effect in all indoor and outdoor settings:
• Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet) from others who are not in your household or social circle
• Stay home if ill and get tested for COVID-19
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Children under the age of two should not wear a mask or face covering, and those under five who cannot be persuaded are not required to wear a face covering, as well as individuals whose health or ability, or cultural or religious reasons would prevent them from doing so. No proof of exemption is required, and people should not be judged or mistreated in any way if they do not wear a face covering.
Businesses and organizations are required to have a policy and measures in place requiring face coverings in indoor public places, however they are only required to apply their best effort in enforcing this.
Have questions about when and where to wear a face covering or mask? Please find helpful tips below:
What indoor public spaces are not included in the mandatory mask/face covering instruction?
The following indoor spaces are not covered by the mandatory mask instruction from the Medical Officer of Health because they each have their own specific directives from the province:
• Schools, licensed child care centres and indoor/outdoor day camps
• Indoor areas of a building accessible to only employees
• Areas that are outside, whether or not the areas are covered (e.g. restaurant patios)
Do employees at a business, organization or public transit service need to wear a mask/face covering?
Yes, employees need to wear a face covering when working in indoor public spaces unless the employee is within or behind a physical barrier (e.g. plexiglas barrier) or is in an area of the premises that is not designated for public access. Employees who also have one of the other exemptions (cited above) do not have to wear a face covering.
To learn more about how to protect yourself and others, including frequently asked questions about wearing face coverings, click here.
“This pandemic has truly changed the way we all live our daily lives,” said Warden George Cornell. “In order to limit transmission and protect ourselves and others, particularly our frontline workers and most vulnerable populations, it’s important that when it comes to a face covering or a mask that we #WearIt when entering indoor public spaces. We thank and support the SMDHU for stepping up, working with our municipalities and enhancing our regional efforts to keep everyone safe.”
“We have all worked incredibly hard to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and wearing a face covering or mask will help ensure we hang on to those gains we have made,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s medical officer of health.
“Wearing a face covering is important for the continued successful reopening of our local economy and to safeguard our residents against the virus now, as well as into the fall and beyond.”