It’s only been four days since the Northwestern Health Unit’s mandatory mask policy in all enclosed public spaces went into effect, but residents and businesses across the region have been adapting.

Kenora Mayor Dan Reynard says the mandatory mask policy includes the City Hall and the Operations Centre, and staff worked with the health unit to develop appropriate COVID-19 safety measures.

“Plexi-glass has been installed for all of our employees that have direct contact with the public. Protocols are all in place, and there’s clearly-marked exits and entrances. Masks have to be worn.”

Reynard says the municipality quickly-adapted to the policies, and the Kenora community has also mostly been on-board. He says the majority of people he’s seen have been following the new rules.

“In the grand scheme of things, wearing a mask isn’t a big hassle for the majority of people. The benefits outweigh the potential negative aspects.”

“The city has always deferred to the leadership of our health experts, and the city full supports their directive. Staff are following protocols.”

One of the many misunderstandings surrounding the health unit’s mandatory mask policy has been around the masks’ effectiveness in restaurant settings, as you need to remove the mask to eat.

Earlier this month, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the health unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon, reminded the community that you only remove your mask in a restaurant when you are seated and your food has arrived.

“Restaurants need to be able to ensure that there is physical distancing when people sit down to eat. They need to be at least two metres away from other people.”

“That would be the time for people to remove their mask, once they’re sitting, seated and eating, assuming that they’re not coming close to anyone else.”

“Employees in the restaurant and the people who serve food will need to wear a mask, because they will be coming in contact with many people,”

Residents are reminded that the use of face coverings must be paired with other personal protective measures, including physical distancing, hand washing, avoiding touching your face and staying home if you’re sick.

For more information:
Masks required in all indoor public spaces, effective today
Masks still required in restaurants, NWHU