/Health unit clarifies business responsibility to enforce face mask rules 

Health unit clarifies business responsibility to enforce face mask rules 

By Jenn Watt

region’s face-mask regulations have been put in the spotlight following
the fatal police-involved shooting of a man at his residence north of
Haliburton, which followed an incident earlier that morning when he
refused to wear a mask at Minden’s Valu-Mart. The man is alleged to have
assaulted an employee at the grocery store before speeding off in his
vehicle to his home, where he was in an altercation with the OPP that
ended with the man being shot. The details of what happened are under
investigation by the province’s Special Investigations Unit.
online and quoted by media indicate that some feel the policy, which is
intended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, puts workers in a
potentially difficult position, by enforcing a divisive policy.
their meeting on July 16, representatives for the board of health for
the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit did not wish
to comment on the incident as the matter was under investigation.
by the Times whether a business has an obligation to enforce the mask
policy, the medical officer of health said the template policy sent out
to businesses includes a line that a customer would not be denied
service for not wearing a mask.
“We prepared packages with regard
to stage 2 [of the province’s reopening plan] and the use of masks. We
sent information out to all of the businesses with regard to developing a
policy to have in place and in the policy it outlines what we can use
to put their best efforts into ensuring people who go into the premises
wear a mask and that’s to ask the person to put on a mask if they
haven’t got a mask on, but that they would not refuse service to the
person, so … to allow that person into the facility,” Dr. Lynn
Noseworthy said. “That was the draft template that we shared with all of
the businesses. Now, what they chose to do with the draft template was
their own business and we don’t know what that particular establishment
would have used.”
The template distributed to businesses reads: “If a
customer refuses to put on a face covering and refuses to leave the
premises, staff are not required to engage further; there is not a need
to turn away or remove a customer to achieve the best effort standard.”
other materials from the health unit distributed alongside the template
policy, it answers the question “Can a person be refused service for
not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering?” like this: “The
requirement should be enforced in ‘good faith’ and any person not
wearing a mask will receive a verbal reminder from the staff of the
Businesses that do not comply with the health unit requirements could be fined.
Face masks are used to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by blocking respiratory droplets from entering the air.
Roberts, mayor of Dysart et al and a member of the board of health,
said the incident was very sad and demonstrated the level of stress
people are under. She said store owners don’t know why certain people
are refusing to wear masks and that they can’t ask for medical
As of July 17, the HKPR District Health Unit region has
moved into stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, which means more
businesses are required to implement the mask rules.
A longer list
of establishments includes most indoor places where members of the
public congregate including restaurants, churches, public libraries,
casinos, museums and many others.
Those who are inside, but who are
no longer “roaming” are allowed to take off their masks, the health unit
says. For example, in a restaurant, a mask would be needed to walk to
and from the table, but not while seated. At an indoor wedding, masks
would be needed until the guests were seated six feet from one another.
for wearing a mask include children under two years old, children under
five years old who refuse to wear them, people who can’t take a mask
off without help, and people with conditions such as respiratory or
cognitive difficulties.