Ontario’s mandatory mask overview:
Ontario updated Regulation 364/20 with the new business mask rules. Ontario now requires businesses to enforce mask wearing in store, meaning that retailers will incur liability for unmasked customers in the place of business who do not have an exemption.
The regulation does contain several exemptions, including medical, religious, or human right code reason, and exemptions for young children. In addition, the regulation allows for the removal of a mask if needed for service (e.g. ID verification). The rules explicitly state that no customer needs to provide proof of an exemption.
While this regulation applies to all businesses operating in an indoor space (including workplace vehicles), there is an exemption for spaces in the business which are not accessible to the public, so long as a physical distance of at least two metres is maintained from every other person. For example, you would not be required to wear a mask while socially distanced at your desk, or in a break room, but may have an obligation to wear a mask while walking around, if social distance cannot be maintained.
O. Reg. 364/20 – Schedule 1, Section 2
(4) The person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area unless the person in the indoor area,
(a) is a child who is younger than two years of age;
(b) is attending a school or private school within the meaning of the Education Act that is operated in accordance with a return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
(c) is attending a child care program at a place that is in compliance with the child care re-opening guidance issued by the Ministry of Education;
(d) is receiving residential services and supports in a residence listed in the definition of “residential services and supports” in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008;
(e) is in a correctional institution or in a custody and detention program for young persons in conflict with the law;
(f) is performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance;
(g) has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;
(h) is unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person;
(i) needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area,
(i) to receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,
(ii) to engage in an athletic or fitness activity,
(iii) to consume food or drink, or
(iv) as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety;
(j) is being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
(k) is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code; or
(l) performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.
(5) Subsection (4) does not apply with respect to premises that are used as a dwelling if the person responsible for the business or organization ensures that persons in the premises who are not entitled to an exception set out in subsection (4) wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin in any common areas of the premises in which persons are unable to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons.
(6) For greater certainty, it is not necessary for a person to present evidence to the person responsible for a business or place that they are entitled to any of the exceptions set out in subsection (4).
Keeping employees safe:
RCC has previously shared some tips on how retailers can reinforce mask wearing in their stores while keeping their employees safe. We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of these resources given today’s announcement.
- Guidance on how to deal with ‘anti-mask’ customers: Limiting workplace violence associated with COVID-19
- Q&A: What are a retailer’s rights to deny entry to someone refusing to wear a mask?
- Q&A: How can retailers help reinforce mask wearing in their stores while keeping their employees safe?
Also take note:
Stricter health measures were also announced today for Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa today. In these regions, the following new measures will take effect as of Saturday, October 3, 2020:
- Restaurants to have a 100-person limit, with no more than 6 individuals per table. (Toronto Public Health has already capped capacity indoors at establishments at 75).
- Gyms and fitness centres to have a 50-person limit, with class sizes reduced to no more than 10 individuals.
- Banquet halls and event centres to have a 50-person limit, with no more than 6 individuals per table.
RCC will provide additional information as it becomes available. If you have specific questions, please contact Sebastian Prins at [email protected] or 416-467-3759.