Masks mandatory in Renfrew County starting next week

Face masks will be mandatory in indoor public spaces across Renfrew County starting next week.

Masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Renfrew County starting next week. 

Dr. Robert Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health for Renfrew County, was one of four top health officials in Eastern Ontario to make the announcement Monday, along with officials from the City of Ottawa, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. 

The order means all businesses and indoor spaces offering services will adapt a mask policy for patrons, which requires a mask that covers their nose, mouth and chin.  

These spaces and businesses include: 

  • Restaurants, cafés, cafeterias, banquet halls;
  • Retail establishments and shopping malls;
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship;
  • Libraries, museums, art galleries, recreational facilities, bingo halls, community centres and halls, cinemas, theatres, concert venues, special event venues, convention centers, or other similar entertainment, cultural, or leisure facilities;
  • Sports facilities, sports clubs, gyms, yoga studios, dance studios, and stadiums;
  • Common areas of hotels, motels, or short-term rental premises such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms, rest rooms, laundry rooms, gyms, and kitchens;
  • Private transportation for hire, including taxis, limousines and rideshare services
  • Common areas of premises under the control of a regulated health professional under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, S.O. 1991, c. 18, as amended, such as waiting rooms;
  • Common areas of hospitals and independent health facilities such as lobbies, food courts and retail establishments; and
  • Spas, hair salons, barbers, nail salons, and other personal service settings that are subject to health and safety protocols provided by the Province of Ontario during the provincial emergency.

Schools, childcare centres and daycares are not included in the order, as they are not considered an 'enclosed space.'

There are exemptions to wearing masks, including medical exemptions for those with breathing problems, children under two-years-old, those with a disability or an employee who is already behind a physical barrier. No one will be asked for proof of an exemption.

When it comes to enforcement, it will be done in "good faith," according to the written order, with a focus on education rather than fines.