On Friday Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health issued an order requiring all individuals to wear a face covering (homemade or purchased mask, scarf or bandana) when entering and accessing services at any commercial establishments in the KFL&A area.
This order is effective on Saturday, June 27.
“We have seen more people wearing face coverings voluntarily and making them mandatory reinforces best practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Moore in a press release. “We are a welcoming and caring community that want our businesses to succeed. With this added protection of making face coverings mandatory I hope that this will help reassure everyone that it is safe to access commercial establishments and to continue to support our local businesses.”
The order came just a day after a confirmed outbreak of the virus in Kingston, which was traced back to Binh’s Nail and Spa salon. As of Friday morning, 18 positive cases had been linked to the nail salon. More could be coming soon as long lines could be spotted outside both the Kingston and Napanee COVID testing units. Napanee’s drive-through testing location is located at 310 Bridge St. W. Anyone who has visited the salon between June 12-24 is asked to get tested and self isolate for 14 days, regardless of the outcome of the test.
In accordance with the face covering order, all individuals must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth when entering and accessing services in any commercial establishments. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing; instead, the face covering helps to protect everyone around. KFLA Public Health says along with the face covering, residents are reminded to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and proper hand hygiene. To learn more about how to properly wear and use face coverings, go to kflaph.ca/MaskFAQ.
“It just had to happen,” said Lennox and Addington warden and Greater Napanee mayor Marg Isbester, who was included on a conference call with Dr. Moore prior to the announcement. “We got a little bit cocky, which we knew would happen. And of course there’s no doubt about it….we attract people from outside that aren’t in Stage 2 yet that are wanting to get things.”
Isbester said it could be a blessing in disguise that the outbreak happened so early after some restrictions were eased to serve as a wake up call.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said Isbester. “And there will be a lot of kick back. I’ve already had a lot of calls from individuals saying they’re just not going to do it. Well, then be prepared to stay home.”
She also noted the order would remain in place for a year.
“The only way we’re going to knock this is to have hard and fast rules for everybody, whether people believe it or not, it’s the only way that we’re going to kill it,” added Isbester.
The mayor did note there would be some exceptions from the order, as indicated by Public Health. They include:
- A child who is under the age of two years
- A child who is under the age of five years either chronologically or developmentally and they refuse to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver
- Instances where wearing a face covering would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe in any way
- For any other medical reason, the person cannot safely wear a face covering such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties, or difficulties in hearing or processing information.
The following is a list that will include a face covering prior to entering:
- Retail stores
- Convenience stores
- Malls or plazas
- Food premises
- Personal service settings
- Grocery stores or bakeries
- Churches or faith settings
- Farmer’s markets
- Areas of a mechanic’s shop, garage, or repair shop which are open to the public
- Community centres
- Private transportation (e.g., bus, taxi or limo)
- Public transportation (e.g., bus or train)
- Day camps (i.e., staff only)
- Day care centres (i.e., staff only)
- Business offices that are open to the public
The following list do not fall within the definition of a Commercial Establishment:
- Business offices that are not open to members of the public
- Professional offices where clients receive purchased services (e.g., lawyer’s or accountant’s offices) that are not open to members of the public
- Independent health facilities
- Offices of regulated health professionals
The areas of the commercial establishment that are subject to the face coverings requirements of this Order are:
- Any areas in which customers interact with one another or with staff members, or
- Any areas that are open or accessible to members of the public.
The exception is where the area is outside, whether or not the area is covered (e.g., restaurant patio).
Any failure to comply with the enforcement of wearing masks in commercial establishments is an offence for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine up to $5,000 for every day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues.
To learn more about COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, visit www.Kflaph.ca/Coronavirus or visit www.covid-19.ontario.ca to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.