City Council recently passed a temporary by-law, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, which requires residents to wear a mask or face covering in all enclosed publicly-accessible spaces in London.
This means, with some exceptions, all persons, including customers, visitors and staff, entering an enclosed public premise are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside.
Masks and face coverings include a medical or non-medical mask or face coverings such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.
Wearing a mask or face covering is not an alternative to safe physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a two-metre distance even when wearing a mask. Wearing a face covering should always be combined with other health measures such proper hand washing or sanitizing, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, and staying home if you are sick.
When is a face covering required?
A face covering or mask is required in any indoor public setting, including:
- Restaurants, cafés, cafeterias
- Retail establishments and shopping malls
- Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship
- City indoor recreational facilities open to the public, community centres including indoor recreational facilities, whether publicly accessible or requiring membership
- Libraries, art galleries, performing arts centres, museums, aquariums, zoos, and other similar facilities
- Community service agencies providing services to the public
- Banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and any other event space;
- Premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes
- Common areas of hotels, motels or other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms, or other common use facilities
- Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and other entertainment facilities
- Other business, organizations and places that are permitted to operate in accordance with the Emergency Orders.
- Employees of businesses or establishments working in a publicly-accessible indoor space where there is no physical barrier (such as Plexiglas, a partition, screen or wall)
When is a face covering not required?
Face coverings are not required in the following locations,
- Businesses or establishments that are not publicly accessible
- Outdoor spaces
- Within businesses or establishments, or by employees and staff, that meet any of the exemptions
- Employees or staff at a business or establishment working behind a physical barrier (such as Plexiglas, a partition, screen or wall)
- Day cares, schools, post-secondary institutions, and other facilities used solely for educational purposes
- Hospitals and portions of buildings used by regulated health professionals;
- Buildings owned or operated by the Province of Ontario or the Government of Canada
- Portions of community centres, arenas or other buildings that are being used for the purpose of day camps for children or for the training of amateur or professional athletes
- School transportation vehicles
- Court facilities, or a portion of a building where any similar legislated judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding is taking place; professional offices that are not open to the public and are open by appointment only (such as a lawyer or accountant office)
- Indoor areas of buildings that are accessible to employees only
For exemptions to this list, please see the By-law.
Who is exempt from wearing a mask or face covering under this by-law?
The following persons are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask or face covering:
- Children under 12 years of age
- Persons with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits their ability to wear a face covering
- Persons who are unable to place or remove a face covering without assistance
- Employees or agents of the establishment within an area designated for them and not publicly accessible, or in an area separated by a physical barrier
- Persons who are reasonably accommodated by not wearing a face covering in accordance with the Ontario Human Right Code
- Persons in an establishment, while receiving services involving the face and requiring the removal of the face covering, including but not limited to eating or drinking, or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
- Persons within an Establishment, while participating in a religious service, for rituals which require an uncovered mouth
Please be respectful of the rights of individuals who are exempt from wearing a mask in conformity with the exemptions provided in the By-law.
Under the by-law, residents are not required to show exemption from wearing a mask before entering an enclosed public space.
Middlesex-London Health Unit Instruction:
Prior to this by-law, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit, also issued a Public Health Instruction related to masks, along with an Order for the requirement of mask on public transit, taxis, and ride share vehicle operators and personal care service establishments. Details can be found here: https://www.healthunit.com/face-masks#full-requirements