10 Jul

Masks or face coverings mandatory inside public places in Prince Edward County

Picton, ON – All individuals must wear a mask or a face covering when inside enclosed public places and at outdoor markets or farm stands in Prince Edward County, as of Friday, July 10.

“Local business, residents, and visitors have worked diligently to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Steve Ferguson says. “As our economy reopens and people have more contact with others, we must remain vigilant to protect the health and safety of everyone and avoid a second wave of infection. Evidence has shown that wearing a face covering is an important measure we can all take, along with maintaining physical distance and washing our hands thoroughly and often.” 

All individuals must wear a mask or other face covering, including a bandana, scarf, or other fabric that goes over their nose, mouth, and chin. A face shield is permitted for people for whom a cloth face covering is not possible or practical.

Masks or face coverings must be worn in the indoor areas of the following public places:

• Stores and other establishments that sell or offer to sell food, beverages, consumer products, vehicles, equipment or other goods
• Restaurants, bars and other establishments that sell or offer to sell food or drink to the public for on-site consumption or takeout, with the exception of the patrons while consuming food and drinks in the seating areas therein
• Establishments that provide or offer to provide services, including but not limited to professional, counselling, personal care, funeral home, repair and rental services, to the public, with the exception of services related to child care and day camps, care for the elderly and persons with disabilities
• Shopping malls
• Common interior spaces accessible to the public including but not limited to lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities in apartments and condos, hotels and motels, short term accommodations and private campgrounds
• Laundromats
• Concert venues, theatres and cinemas
• Fitness centres, gyms and other recreational and sports facilities
• Arcades and other amusement facilities
• Museums, galleries, historic sites and similar attractions
• Places of worship
• Community centres, including indoor recreational facilities
• Banquet halls, town halls, arenas, libraries and event spaces
• Premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes
• Municipal buildings providing services to the public
• Taxis, limos, buses and other modes of public transportation
• Outdoor markets and farm stands when physical distancing is not possible 

The by-law does not apply to the following: an enclosed public place that is owned or operated by or on behalf of the provincial or federal government, schools, public pools, spas, wading pools and splash pads, hospitals, independent health facilities and offices of regulated health professionals, and an indoor area of a building that is accessible only to employees. 

Owners or operators of establishments must post signs at all entrances notifying the public about the need to wear a face covering. The municipality has created a poster that businesses can print off and post in their entrances. Click here to download.

Individuals who do not follow the mandatory face covering requirement could be fined up to $1,000 under the Provincial Offences Act

The following individuals are exempt under the municipal by-law: 

• A child who is under the age of five years old
• A person who is unable to wear a face covering as a result of a medical condition or a disability or religious grounds
• A person who is unable to put on or remove a face covering without assistance
• A person while assisting or accommodating another person with a disability
• A person engaged in a sport or other strenuous physical activity
• Employees, business owners, and operators who are within or behind a physical barrier or within an area where public access is not allowed
• A person who temporarily removes the face covering while consuming food or drink or when necessary for receiving services
• A person requiring emergency or medical attention 

The face covering is another layer of protection against the spread of COVID-19, but it is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. Along with the face covering, people should continue to protect themselves by following physical distancing guidelines (maintaining a distance of 2 metres/6 feet) and proper hand hygiene. 

The by-law enacted under the CAO’s delegated authority on July 10 is in line with the directive issued by Dr. Alexa Caturay, Acting Medical Officer of Health for Hastings-Prince Edward. Dr. Caturay instructed business owners and operators to adopt a policy to ensure that all members of the public wear a mask in order to enter or remain in the public areas of enclosed public space. The County’s by-law applies to more than just businesses, and includes any indoor place that is open to the public, as well as outdoor markets and farm stands when physical distance is not possible. 

Visit the County’s COVID-19 information page for additional information. 

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For media inquiries, please contact Mark Kerr, Communications and Consultation Supervisor, at 613.476.2148 ext. 1009 or by email at mkerr@pecounty.on.ca