Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical health officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), tried to clear up some of the confusion about the mandatory masking rule for Eastern Ontario during a recent teleconference with media. He emphasized that the sole responsibility of businessowners is to make sure their staff wear masks or face shields while at work and to make sure that their customers know about the mandatory masking rule.
“It’s just that we want them to remind people,” said Dr. Roumeliotis, regarding the masking directive. “I do not expect them (businesses) to enforce it or police it.”
The mandatory masking directive took effect throughout the Eastern Ontario region through a joint decision of all four public health units as a means to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19. The directive applies to the interior of stores, the common areas of businesses like a reception office, and public buildings.
There are exemptions under the directive for people who are not able to wear a mask for medical reasons or other legitimate causes. But, Dr. Roumeliotis noted, anyone who claims an exemption from the directive is not required to provide proof on demand.
“They do not need a medical note,” he said, adding that businessowners and their staff should not forbid entry to a person who claims an exemption.
The responsibility of the business with an exemption case, Dr. Roumeliotis noted, is to remind the customer of the social distancing rule and make sure they understand what it means.
Dr. Roumeliotis affirmed that the EOHU will look into ways to clarify the masking directive to businesses in the region.