(Pleated face mask. Photo: shopSafety.ca)
The by-law for mandatory masks has been extended until January 2021 and may be extended further based on the status of the pandemic – coming under review every two months. The by-law still exempts young children and anyone with a disability or a medical condition, including breathing and cognitive difficulties that prevent them from wearing a mask safely. Anyone who is unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance is also exempt from the by-law. Proof of an exemption is still not required.
Over the spring and summer, large gatherings have taken place around the city where residents were not wearing masks or maintaining a social distance of 2 metres. These types of gatherings are high-risk for the transmission of the virus.
Should large gatherings of this kind continue in a specific area, the City may establish a mandatory mask zone. Residents and visitors to the area would be required to wear masks while in any indoor or outdoor public space. The rule may apply only on specific days of the week during specific hours of the day.
Businesses are still in the process of reopening, and this includes patios. The ability to establish mandatory mask zones, if necessary, will help the City create a safe environment for residents to socialize and enjoy the outdoors while the weather is still on our side.
To determine whether a mandatory mask zone should be put in place, the City is going to consider:
- Confirmation from the Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health that it is a necessary public health and safety measure;
- The number of incidents of high-risk behaviour such as not wearing masks and not physically distancing while in a crowded area; and,
- The size and dimensions of the area of the city in question, and whether the public is able to maintain physical distance.
If a mandatory mask zone is established, the City will notify residents and businesses 24-48 hours ahead of time through City and Ottawa Public Health notification.
Masks must cover the nose and mouth. For those refusing to wear a mask, and are not exempt from doing so, will face a fine of $240. For further information visit the City of Ottawa link here.