Masks Mandatory Starting this Friday in Windsor-Essex

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Starting this Friday, business owners in Windsor-Essex will no longer let anyone into their establishment if they're not wearing a face mask.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has issued the order which will go into effect at 12:01am on Friday, June 26.

Businesses include retail and convenience stores, malls, restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, farmer's markets, gas stations and auto shops.

Ashley Kirby is a Health Promotion Specialist with the local health unit.

She says the order includes almost everywhere.

"Any commercial establishments in Windsor and Essex County. So in the order commercial establishments will be defined as any place that is open to the public and offers goods or services. This includes areas where customers interact with one another or staff members."

Kirby says, if you don't have a mask, information can be found online as to how to make one.

"The Public Health Agency of Canada does provide information on their website on how to create your own mask. There's a sew and non-sew option and it teaches you how to make one from materials such as bandanas or a t-shirt. If you're making your own mask you want to make sure that each cloth mask is made of at least two layers and can be put in the wash."

She says there will be some exceptions.

"Individuals that are exempt from wearing one would include children under the age of two years old. You shouldn't wear a face covering if it inhibits a person's ability to breathe in any way or if you have a medical reason and a person cannot safely wear a face covering such as a respiratory disease."

Kirby says signage is available for businesses to post a reminder for customers.

According to the health unit, the order was put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Windsor-Essex remains the only region in Ontario still at Stage 1 of the province's reopening plan.

— with files from AM800's Teresinha Medeiros