Chatham-Kent Council voted on Monday, August 10, 2020 to make the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces mandatory as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 14, Municipal officials said in a media release.
Following a nearly one-hour long discussion, Council approved a bylaw to mandate masks and to develop further amendments in consultation with the Medical Officer of Health “addressing other preventative measures including physical distancing requirements, and the provision of hand sanitizer in public spaces.”
Those amendments will be discussed at Council’s September 14, 2020 meeting, Municipal officials say.
A motion by Chatham Councillor Brock McGregor was carried by a vote of 11-6. Here is how the vote broke down:
Read our coverage of the meeting, here: Mandatory mask by-law approved by Chatham-Kent Council
Mayor Darrin Canniff praised council for its work.
“This is a worldwide issue and an extremely emotional one,” he said in a media release.
“Councillors considered their views, the views of the constituents and the views from medical professionals. It was a difficult decision and they voted with the best interest of the community at heart.”
Municipal officials say indoor public spaces per the Municipal Mask By-Law 101-2020 are included but not limited to:
– Restaurants, cafés, cafeterias, banquet halls
– Retail establishments and shopping malls
-Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship
– Libraries, museums, art galleries, recreational facilities, bingo halls, cinemas, theatres, concert venues, special event venues, convention centres, or other similar entertainment, cultural, or leisure facilities.
– Sports facilities, sports clubs, gyms, yoga studios, dance studios, and stadiums
– Hotels, motels, or short-term rental premises
– Premises under the control of a regulated health professional under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 18, as amended;
– Temporary facilities, such as construction trailers and temporary sales offices
– Municipal facilities and any community centre, cultural, arts or leisure centre, recreational or sporting facility, parks building, client service centre or indoor parking facility
– And, other businesses, organizations and places that are permitted to operate in accordance with the Emergency Orders passed by the Province of Ontario pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,S.O. 1990, c.E.9, as amended.
The by-law also includes a list of exemptions and does not apply to:
– A child who is younger than nine years of age chronologically or developmentally, but children between four (4) and nine (9) years of age are still encouraged to wear a mask while in an enclosed public space
– A person with a medical condition, including breathing or cognitive difficulties, or a disability, that prevents them from safely wearing a mask
– A person who is unable to put on or remove their mask without the assistance of another person
– A person who needs to temporarily remove their mask while in the enclosed public space for the purposes of: receiving services that require the removal of their mask; actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity including water-based activities, including lifeguards working at indoor pools; consuming food or drink; and an emergency or medical purpose.
Other exemptions include: a person who is employed by or is an agent of the operator of an enclosed public space is not obligated to wear a mask under this by-law while in an area of the premises that is not designated for public access, or when located either within or behind a physical barrier, including but not limited to a plexiglass barrier.
The by-law also states “no person shall be required to provide proof of any of the exemptions.”
Municipal officials say wearing a mask is only one aspect in reducing an individual’s chances of contracting COVID-19.
As directed by public health, individuals must:
– Maintain physical distancing of two metres at all times
– Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol frequently
– Stay home (not going into the community or to work) if you’re not feeling well, and get tested for COVID-19.
To read the full by-law, click here.
For more information on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, visit CK Public Health’s website, here.