As of Wednesday, July 8, 2020, all commercial establishments in Sudbury and districts will be required to ramp up their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As part of COVID-19 prevention efforts, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts, today is issuing instructions (PDF 244 KB) to owners and operators of commercial establishments, as well as public transit, to have policies in place to stop people from entering if they are not wearing a face covering. The instructions are being issued under the authority of the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
“The face covering requirement for commercial premises that are open to the public is in addition to the diligent work many are already doing to ensure physical distancing and hand sanitizers. Face coverings are extra protection to prevent COVID-19 spread, they also send a message that the wearer wants to protect others,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “As we successfully re-open across the province, we also increase the risk of spreading the virus. Establishing common expectations about routine face covering helps reduce this risk now and will pave the way to successful Stage 3 re-opening. It will also help protect us against a potential second wave in the fall and keep businesses and services up and running,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.
Commercial establishments are expected to use their best efforts to implement their face covering policies. This means that signs and verbal reminders are used but there is not a requirement that a business must turn away the customer. This is in line with the “good faith” enforcement framework of the Public Health Sudbury & Districts instructions which builds on education and reminders.
In today’s instruction letter, all employers are reminded of their ongoing responsibilities to maintain two metres distance between employees and clients, to screen employees and members of the public for COVID-19 symptoms, and to promote excellent hygiene practices including handwashing.
For owners or operators of commercial establishments or of public transit, the additional face covering responsibility comes into effect at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, July 8, 2020. A face covering means a medical or non-medical mask or other face coverings such as a bandana, a scarf or cloth that covers the mouth and nose. Certain exemptions apply, for example, based on age or medical circumstances.
“I encourage everyone to be kind, patient, and respectful to one another. How we navigate this pandemic is our individual and our shared responsibility. These latest instructions continue to count on everyone’s best intentions and my confidence is well placed. I fully expect we will show the province and the world how to do this right,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.
Accumulating epidemiological evidence indicates that the widespread use of face coverings by all persons decreases the spread of respiratory droplets, and expert opinion supports the widespread use of face coverings to decrease transmission of COVID-19.
Public Health is reminding residents to follow public health guidance—wash your hands; cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay two metres apart from others; wear your face covering, and stay home when ill. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. People who are asymptomatic, who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 are also encouraged to contact an assessment centre and get tested.
For more information please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).