UPDATE: No Mask, No Service in Windsor-Essex

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Starting next week, masks will be mandatory to enter a commercial establishment in Windsor-Essex.

“Staring next week, there will be a mandatory mask policy in all commercial establishments in Windsor and Essex,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health. “This should give all area residents a lead time and business establishments some lead time to have policies in place to require a cloth mask to enter each of the business establishments.”

As part of the weekly update on Friday morning, Dr. Ahmed said more details will be released on Monday including which establishments will be included, who can be exempt from the policy and what day it will go into effect.

He says this was not a recommendation from the province, but a proactive step to helps us get to Stage 2.

“Just like we have said, the recommendation was always there, it’s just being more formalized and ensuring that it’s there for us and as we prepare to move into Stage 2, that’s definitely something that would give me more confidence and give the community more confidence before we move to Stage 2.”

Dr. Ahmed says there will have to be exemptions to the mask rule, and a medical note will not be required.

“There will be people who for medical reasons may be unable to wear a mask, so all of those exceptions will be clearly laid out as well, that as much as it’s the exception for everyone to wear the mask,” he says.

19 additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in Windsor-Essex on Friday, 17 of the new cases are workers in the agri-farm sector.

There are now a total of 1,263 cases of the virus in Windsor-Essex, 67 deaths and 730 cases resolved.

The health unit continues to monitor outbreaks at Village of Aspen Lake in Windsor and Country Village Homes in Woodslee where a staff member tested positive at each.

Windsor-Essex remains fourth highest in the province with COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population and is higher than the provincial average.