Time to mask up; face-coverings are mandatory today in Simcoe County, Muskoka

A bandana or scarf will do - as long as it covers your nose and your mouth

Don’t leave home without one.

Face-coverings are mandatory today when you enter most public spaces in Simcoe County and Muskoka, including grocery stores, shopping malls, hair salons and public transit.

If you don’t have a medical or non-medical mask a bandana or scarf will do – as long as it covers your nose and your mouth.

Many people are wondering why this step is being taken now with case numbers here as low as they are. Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman says the answer is simple, “Even though the spread has stopped, or almost stopped, now we’ve got a lot more businesses that are open, we’ve got a lot more environments where masks make the difference … when they were all closed down a few weeks ago, this was maybe an issue that was confined to grocery stores and pharmacies and those places.”

Children under the age of 2 or those under 5 who cannot be persuaded, are not required to wear a face covering, as well as individuals whose health or ability, or cultural or religious reasons would prevent them from doing so. No proof of exemption is required.

Some businesses have said they will have masks available for those who don’t have one.

Frequently asked questions:

What indoor public spaces are NOT included?

  • Schools, licensed child care centres and indoor/outdoor day camps
  • Indoor areas of a building accessible to only employees
  • Areas that are outside, whether or not the areas are covered (e.g. restaurant patios)

Do employees of the business, organization or public transit service need to wear a face-covering?

Yes, employees need to wear a face-covering when working in the public areas of the indoor public space unless the employee is within or behind a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas barrier) or is in an area of the premises that is not designated for public access.

Can I be fined if I don’t wear a mask?

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s focus is on raising public awareness and educating people on the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in premises where physical distancing may be difficult. However, individuals, businesses or organizations who do not comply with the requirements may be fined as per the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA). It is important to know that while we will commence with an educational and supportive approach, as per the EMCPA, those who do not comply may be fined. Individuals may be liable for a fine of $750 -$1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000, while corporations may be liable for a fine of up to $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.