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Mandatory Face Covering By-law

In an effort to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the Town of The Blue Mountains Council is considering the approval of a Mandatory Face Covering By-law that aims to share the responsibility of wearing a mask equally between the business owner/operator and the customer or individual within the indoor public space.

If approved, the By-law would support and augment the existing Provincial Order (Ontario Regulation 364/20), which mandates that a face covering must be worn in all indoor establishments. The proposed By-law is very similar to the current Provincial Order; however, the By-law will add to the responsibility of wearing a face covering to include the customer or individual entering an indoor space.

Currently, the Provincial Order places the responsibility of customers wearing a face covering solely on the business owner/operator. Through the proposed By-law, the Town wants to clearly identify a shared responsibility to both the business owner/operator and the customer or individual entering an indoor space.

Background Information

The draft Mandatory Face Coverings By-law was presented to Council at the November 2, 2020 meeting as staff report FAF.20.176 Mandatory Face Covering By-law. To watch the recording of the meeting, please visit the following webpage: November 2, 2020 Council Meeting.

The draft by-law and communications plan will be presented to a Special Committee of the Whole Meeting on November 25, 2020.  The recommendations from the November 25, 2020 Special Committee of the Whole meeting will be considered by Council at the November 30, 2020 Council Meeting. If passed, Council will consider enactment of the proposed mask by-law at the December 14 Council Meeting.

Draft Mandatory Face Covering By-law

To view the draft By-law, please visit the following webpage: FAF.20.176 Mandatory Face Covering By-law

Share Your Feedback

Members of the public wishing to speak at the virtual Committee of the Whole meeting are required to pre-register with the Town Clerk no later than 1:00 pm on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.

To submit your feedback by email, in writing, or to pre-register to speak during the virtual meeting, please contact the Town Clerk, Corrina Giles through the following methods:

Mail or in person: 32 Mill St. Box 310, Thornbury ON, N0H 2P0

Tel:  (519) 599-3131 ext 232

Fax: (519) 599-7723

Email: townclerk@thebluemountains.ca

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following section contains a list of frequently asked questions and answers. 

In an effort to help control the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the Town of The Blue Mountains Council is considering the approval of a Mandatory Face Covering By-law that aims to share the responsibility of wearing a mask equally between the business owner/operator and the customer or individual within the indoor public space.

The safety of residents and visitors within the Town of The Blue Mountains is a top priority for Council. It is well documented by Public Health professionals that face coverings are an effective and easy way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important to remember, that wearing a mask is not to protect you, it is to protect those around you. We all have our part to pay within the fight against the virus. Please follow the three W’s: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

If approved, the By-law would support and augment the existing Provincial Order (Ontario Regulation 546/20), which mandates that a face covering must be worn in all indoor establishments.

The proposed By-law is very similar to the current Provincial Order; however, the By-law will add to the responsibility of wearing a face covering to include the customer or individual entering an indoor space. Currently, the Provincial Order places the responsibility of customers wearing a face covering solely on the business owner/operator.

Through the proposed By-law, the Town wants to clearly identify a shared responsibility to both the business owner/operator and the customer or individual entering an indoor space.

The Town’s Legal Services Division is responsible for the administration and enforcement of this By-law.

Every person over the age of 12 who contravenes the By-law including failing to comply with an order made under the By-law, is guilty of an offence and is subject to the following fines:

  • Upon a first conviction, a fine of not less than $250
  • Upon a second conviction, a fine of not less than $500
  • Upon a third or subsequent conviction, a fine of not less than $1,000.

If passed, the Mandatory Face Covering By-law will remain in effect for one-year to the date of implementation, or until the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over by the World Health Organization or the Government of Canada, whichever is earlier.

A face covering is a mask or face covering (including a bandana or scarf) constructed of cloth, linen or other similar fabric that fits securely to the head and is large enough to completely and comfortably cover the mouth, nose and chin.

In addition, face shields that fully cover the mouth, nose and chin are appropriate.

In line with the current Provincial Order, there are several exemptions under the By-law, including:

  • Children under the age of 2 (or under 5 if they refuse and cannot be persuaded to wear one);
  • Those with medical conditions which prohibit the wearing of a face covering;
  • Those who cannot remove the face covering without assistance;
  • And those who are being accommodated pursuant to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code.

An enclosed public space is an area that is indoors, or enclosed by three or more walls, a roof and a floor that is normally accessible to the public.

In plain language, this definition relates to a typical retail business, restaurant or service provider that is open to the public. The definition also related to enclosed outdoor spaces where the above definition is met.

Examples include the following:

  • Retail stores where goods and services are sold to customers;
  • Businesses that primarily sell food including restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries and convenience stores;
  • Churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and other places of worship, except during a religious rite or ceremony that is incompatible with the face being covered;
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities, pavilions and clubhouses;
  • Shopping malls or similar structures which contains multiple places of business;
  • Businesses providing personal care services;
  • Common areas of hotels, motels, apartment buildings, condominiums and other multi-unit buildings or townhouse complexes (including those that permit short term rentals), such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms, or other common use facilities;
  • Libraries, museums, galleries and other similar facilities;
  • Banquet halls, conventions centres, arenas, stadiums and other event spaces;
  • Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos and other entertainment establishments;
  • Premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes;
  • Buildings owned and operated by the Municipality; and
  • Other businesses, organizations and places that are open to the public.

Individuals that refuse to wear a face covering in an area where one is required, and are not exempt from doing so, may be subject to orders and potential charges under the By-law.

The Town of The Blue Mountains has provided the Beaver Valley Outreach with masks that will be made available to those in need.

To obtain a free mask, please contact the Beaver Valley Outreach.

No, it is an individual’s responsibility to wear a mask or face covering.

Yes, a business can refuse entry to an individual who is not wearing a mask or face covering and is not exempt from wearing one.

If you witness an individual, business or organization refusing to follow the mandatory face covering requirement, you can submit a report to the Town’s By-law Enforcement Department by calling 519-599-3131 ext. 249 or by email at lawinfo@thebluemountains.ca.

Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering when entering the recreational facility, but are not required to wear a mask or face covering while engaging in athletic or fitness activity.

Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering when entering and exiting a restaurant or bar but can remove their mask or face covering while consuming food and drink.

Businesses will be required to post notice of the By-law at all public entrances to the establishment. Signage will be supplied by the Town of The Blue Mountains when available.

In addition, the business owner/operator will be required to ensure that all individuals (unless exempt) inside the business wear a face covering in accordance with the By-law.

An operator shall not permit a person to enter or remain in a public establishment without a Face Covering or Mask unless that person is exempt from the provisions of the By-law, or otherwise permitted to remove their mask or face covering in accordance with the By-law.

If you witness a customer and/or employee refuse to follow the mandatory face covering requirement, you can report this to the Town’s By-law Enforcement department by calling 519-599-3131 ext. 249 or by email at bylawinfo@thebluemountains.ca.

Yes, the By-law does not distinguish between employees and customers, unless the employee is performing work in an area that is not accessible to the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the indoor or enclosed space.

No, businesses are not required to supply masks or face coverings to members of the public.

Employees in certain circumstances may be required to a face covering, how they obtain those a face covering is between the employee and employer.


Contacts

Will Thomson
Director of Legal Services
519-599-3131 x258

All Members of Council & Town Clerk
519-599-3131 x232