Mandatory use of face coverings in all indoor settings across the province

New provincial public health measures as of October 2, 2020

As the number of new cases continues to rise, the province is taking decisive action to prevent and stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns. These new restrictions were adopted through the amended order O. Reg 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3 under the Reopening Ontario [A Flexible Response to COVID-19] Act, 2020). They include mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions. 

The use of a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) is mandatory in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)
  • workplaces (even those that are not open to the public)
  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

To learn more visit the Government of Ontario website. 

City of London Mandatory Face Coverings By-Law

The City of London also passed a temporary Mandatory Face Coverings By-Law PH-20 which requires residents to wear a mask or face covering in all enclosed publicly-accessible spaces in London. However, the recent provincial restrictions now makes the use of face coverings mandatory in all indoor spaces.  

Downloadable posters for businesses and establishments

 

The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is by staying home and avoiding close contact with others outside of your household. When you do go out, you must use a face covering in all public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

FAQs for residents
What qualifies as a mask or face covering? 

This can include a medical or non-medical mask or face covering such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.

When do you need to wear a face covering?

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge. This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)
  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public
  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares
When is a face covering not required? 

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering. You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below:

  • Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than 12 years old
  • If you have a medical condition that inhibits your ability to wear a face covering
  • If you are unable to put on or remove your face covering without help from someone else
  • If you are receiving accommodations according to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code
  • If you are in a correctional institution
  • If you area in a custody program for young persons in conflict with the law
  • When you are working in an area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.
  • In university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres from others
  • In residences for people with disabilities (any residences listed in the definition of “residential services and supports” in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008)
  • While you are performing or rehearsing for a film or television production, concert, artistic event or theatrical performance.
When can you take off your face covering temporarily? 
  • To receive services that require you to take it off (for example, at the dentist, when receiving some personal care services such as facials, or when you have to verify your identity)  
  • To engage in an athletic or fitness activity
  • To eat or drink
  • As necessary for health and safety purposes
Do people need to show proof that they are exempt?  

No proof is required to show you are exempt from wearing a mask before entering an enclosed public space.

How will the City’s by-law be enforced?

Municipal Law Enforcement Officers will continue to provide education about the by-law, visiting large and small businesses and providing education to the business operators and public. When a warning is not deemed sufficient or for repeat offenders, enforcement of the by-law can include penalties through ticketing. The fine may be applied to individuals, either customers or employees, not wearing a face covering or mask, or to businesses that do not have proper signage displayed.

What are the fines? 

Upon conviction of an offence under this by-law, a person or operator shall be liable to a fine in accordance with section 429 of the Municipal Act, 2001, as follows:

  • A minimum of $500 and a maximum fine of $100,000.00
  • In the case of a continuing offence, for each day or part of a day that the offence continues, a minimum of $500 and a maximum fine of $10,000.00, and the total of all daily fines for the offence is not limited to $100,000.00.
  • In the case of a multiple offence, for each offence included in the multiple offence, a minimum fine of $500, and a maximum fine of $10,000.00, and the total of all fines for each included offence is not limited to $100,000.00.
How do I report someone for not wearing a face covering?

If you have concerns about someone not wearing a face covering, please keep in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the by-law and there is no requirement for people to prove their condition or disability. Many conditions are invisible: residents and business owners should take people at their word and be kind and respectful. If anyone appears to be willfully contravening the by-law, residents should discuss the violation with the business operator first. After this, if residents wish to report that another resident or a local business is not in compliance with the by-law, they can do so by emailing covidorderconcerns@london.ca or calling 519-661-4660.

Do I still need to stay 2 metres away from others if I am wearing a face mask?

Yes. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a 2 metre distance even when wearing a mask.

Where can I find additional information on health information or research on the importance of wearing a face covering or mask?

Please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit for health-related information and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Am I required to wear a mask in my apartment or condominium building’s lobby and shared spaces?

Yes, a face covering is required in all indoor public spaces. 

Can businesses have their own policy in place and turn away customers unable to wear a face mask? 

At a minimum, local businesses are required to have policies and practices in place that comply with the by-law. Beyond that, businesses may choose to have their own policies related to masks. While the face covering by-law does includes exemptions and not require businesses to turn away customers who are unable to wear face coverings, some businesses have chosen to put their own policies in place, mandating face coverings in their establishments at all times. In many cases these policies have been put into place to protect the business’ employees. Customers who are unable to wear a face covering should feel free to reach out to local businesses to see how their needs can be accommodated.

Are masks or face coverings required at weddings?

Yes, masks or face coverings are required in all enclosed publicly-accessible spaces in London, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or other places of worship. However, masks or face coverings can be removed during certain religious rituals such as communion or specific parts of a wedding ceremony (i.e. you may now kiss the bride).  Social distancing must still be maintained at all gatherings.

Is the City bylaw enforced at schools? 

No. The province of Ontario has outlined health and safety guidelines for all schools. Please contact local school boards to learn more about their plans and policies. Find information about the Thames Valley District School Board or the London District Catholic School Board.  

 

FAQs for business owners and operators
What is my responsibility as a business owner?

Businesses that provide indoor services have a role to play in helping everyone comply with the new by-law. Operators of enclosed public spaces are required to post visible signs with specific messaging about the by-law that indicates the face covering requirement. Business owners can download the signs available on this webpage to print and display. 

What if someone enters my business without a mask?

If a person arrives without a mask, operators must notify them of the mask requirement as soon as possible after they enter the premises. If the client says they are exempt from the bylaw, they do not need to show proof and no further action is needed on behalf of the operator. If a patron refuses to wear a mask and is not exempt from the by-law, a business operator may report the issue to the City for follow-up. This applies to patrons of businesses, and business employees as well.

What qualifies as a mask or face covering? 

This can include a medical or non-medical mask or face covering such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.

Can I require proof of exemption?

The law does not require people to provide proof of exemption.

Do employees need to wear a face covering in staff-only areas?

Yes, employees or staff must wear a face covering in all common areas.  Employees or staff may only remove their face covering if they are working in an area that allows them to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while they are indoors.

The Middlesex London Health Unit - Section 22 Class Order for personal care service establishments

Effective October 29 - Visit the MLHU website for full details

All persons who provide personal care services relating to the hair or body, including hair salons and barbershops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas, and tattoo studios must take the following actions with respect to face coverings/masks:

  • When performing any personal care service that requires the client to remove their mask or face covering, any persons providing personal care services must wear a medical grade procedural mask and face shield.
  • Persons who provide any kind of personal care services must wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including but not limited to a mask or face covering. Employees or service providers who cannot wear a face covering are not permitted to have direct contact with clients.

If you’re a business owner or operator and you have questions about the Section 22 Class Orders, please contact the Health Unit’s COVID-19 Hot Line. COVID-19 Hot Line 519-663-5317 and press 1 (Mon-Sun, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.) or email covid@mlhu.on.ca

 

Wearing a mask or face covering is not an alternative to safe physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a two-metre distance even when wearing a mask. Wearing a face covering should always be combined with other health measures such as proper hand washing or sanitizing, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, and staying home if you are sick.

Last modified:Tuesday, October 27, 2020