At a special meeting on July 24, Norfolk County passed a bylaw requiring the use of a mask or face covering inside enclosed public places.
The bylaw requires all those who operate an enclosed public place (including but not limited to grocery stores, shops, malls and plazas, convenience stores, recreational facilities and gyms, theatres and personal service settings, etc.) to adopt a face mask policy.
The bylaw also requires the posting of signage indicating that wearing a mask is necessary to enter the space.
There are exemptions though:
- Children aged two years or younger and those between the ages of three and five who cannot be persuaded to wear a mask
- Those with underlying medical conditions (permitted to wear a face shield, instead) or who are unable to place or remove a mask without assistance
- Staff working in an area reserved solely for employee use
Council also amended the proposed bylaw to exempt staff who can maintain a six foot distance from others or who work behind a physical barrier.
Masks can also be removed while eating, drinking or engaging in athletic activity.
Currently, the County is developing its own mask policy. The public will be required to wear a mask when entering any Norfolk County facility, such as the Robinson Administration Building or Waterford Tricenturena, and when boarding a Ride Norfolk bus.
Mayor Kristal Chopp spoke about the Council’s decision saying, “I know that not everyone agrees with this decision, but I also know that – bylaw or not – we all want to do what’s best for this community. As more and more businesses start to re-open, it is critical that we all take the precautions necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, and avoid a second wave of the virus – as well as what would likely be a disastrous second economic shutdown.”
It has been shown that properly worn non-medical masks and face coverings inhibit respiratory particles – potentially infected with the virus – which are expelled when breathing, coughing, or sneezing. They should be used in combination with frequent hand washing and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.