The Town of Halton Hills passed a by-law on July 9, mandating the wearing of masks/face coverings in public spaces, effective July 16. Halton Regional Council passed a similar by-law on July 15, effective July 22. By-laws mandating the wearing of masks/face coverings are intended to accompany other health and safety protocols such as physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
Businesses are required to comply with the Town and Regional by-laws, which mandate the wearing of a mask/face covering inside enclosed public places.
Masks/Face Coverings Frequently Asked Questions
What is considered an acceptable mask/face covering?
Masks/face coverings should ensure the nose, mouth and chin must be securely covered so as to filter respiratory droplets. Masks can be cloth, medical and/or disposable. Other forms of acceptable face coverings include bandanas and scarves. A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask as it does not filter respiratory droplets.
Halton Region passed a by-law that goes into effect July 22. What does this mean to me?
Halton Region’s by-law does not change the direction that was covered off with the local by-law, specifically that “every person must wear a Non-Medical Mask / Face Covering when inside an enclosed Public Place within the geographic area of the Region of Halton”. The by-law also notes a number of exemptions, also similar to what the municipality had laid out.
Why are mandatory mask/face coverings being passed now?
Masks/face coverings are recognized as mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus and with the ongoing opening of amenities and services, more people are out and about which increases the risk of viral spread. Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health supports the wearing of masks/face coverings along with other health and safety practices such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.
As a business owner, what does this by-law mean for me?
Business owners have an obligation to adhere to the by-law. This means that mask/face coverings must be worn on their property in public spaces and/or when physical distancing cannot be achieved.
The Regional by-law directs operators of public places to adopt a policy ensuring that no member of the public is permitted entry to, or otherwise remains within, any enclosed space within the public place, unless the member of the public is wearing a mask/face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin.
Businesses are encouraged to use the Region's Sample Mask/Face Covering Policy as a resource for their own policy.
As of July 22 businesses are required to post signage at all entrances to public places in accordance with the Regional by-law. Businesses are also required to post the below signage or the at all entrances of their enclosed public places
Halton Region by-law 47-20 states the following:
Please see Halton Regin's FAQ for business owners and operators for more information on what the Regional by-law means for your business.
What can I do as a business to ensure I’m following the by-law?
- Create a mask/face covering policy for your establishment
- Communicate the policy to employees, customers and patrons and have it readily available
- Train your staff on the by-law and your policy, including applicable exemptions
- Ensure that all staff, customers and visitors wear a mask/face covering indoors, unless exempt
- Download the Region's mask/face covering poster and list of exemption poster and post at all entrances in highly visible areas
- Provide a verbal reminder to staff, visitors and customers to wear a mask/face covering
- Consider offering alternative services to patrons who are unable to wear a mask/face covering (for example, provide online, telephone, curbside pickup or off-peak hour services)
Please note: businesses must continue to follow additional direction provided by the Ontario government, health and safety associations and/or Halton Region Public Health. Visit COVID-19.ontario.ca or halton.ca/COVID19 for more information
What is a Public Place?
"Public Place" means all places that the public has access to within the following:
- premises or any portion thereof which are used as a place of business for the sale or offering for sale of goods or services;
- churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or other places of worship;
- community centres including indoor recreational facilities;
- libraries, art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos and other similar facilities;
- community service agencies providing services to the public, including municipal administrative buildings;
- banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums, and other event spaces;
- premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes;
- common areas of hotels, motels and other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities;
- concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos, and other entertainment facilities; and
- public transportation and private transportation services (such as taxis, private limousine services, Uber, Lyft and other similar ride programs).
The following premises are not a Public Place:
- schools, post-secondary institutions, and child care facilities, correction centres and jails;
- hospitals, independent health facilities and offices of regulated health professionals;
- staff-only areas within a Public Place;
- court facilities and professional offices where clients receive purchased services (such as lawyer or accountant office) that are not open to members of the public except by appointment;
- indoor areas of a building accessible to only employees; and
- indoor/outdoor day care and day camps.
Who is exempt from wearing a mask/face covering?
- A person under three years of age chronologically
- A person under three years of age developmentally and refuses to wear a mask/face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver
- A person with an underlying medical condition where wearing a mask/face covering would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe in any way
- A person who may experience a negative impact to their emotional well-being or mental health
- A person with a developmental disability which inhibits their ability to wear a mask/face covering
- A person with a disability whereby the wearing of a mask/face covering would limit their ability to reasonably communicate with others or otherwise present a hardship for a person or persons assisting the individual
- A person who is unable to place or remove a mask/face covering without assistance
- A person who is temporarily removing their mask/face covering when necessary for receiving services (such as having a meal), or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
- Employees and agents of the person responsible for the Public Place within an area designed for them and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier
Can businesses require proof of exemption?
No person shall be required to provide proof of any of the exemptions.
What is the penalty for non-compliance?
It is the Town’s intent that education of residents is preferred over penalization. However, the by-law does provide for the ability to issue penalties.
Where can I find out more about what the Town is doing in response to COVID-19?