FAQ – Owners & Operators

Last reviewed/updated:  3:09 pm, July 22, 2020

I own/operate a commercial establishment/public transit service/commercial transportation service, what is my responsibility now that face coverings are mandatory?

  • Adopt a policy for your facility that requires customers who access your premises to wear a face covering that properly covers the nose, mouth and chin.
    • Click below to see a sample policy you can use for your business or transit service
    • Policy will be enforced in “good faith”
    • Best efforts must be made to only allow entry to customers wearing facial covering.
    • Remind customers upon entry that a face covering is mandatory, however, you are not required to restrict entry or ask for proof from someone to show they are exempt from wearing a face covering.
    • Have proper and clear signage before entering the facility
    • Have hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) available at the entry and exit to your facility.
    • Ensure that all employees are aware of the policy

I own/operate a workplace/business that is not a commercial establishment/public transit service/commercial transportation service, what is my responsibility now that face coverings are mandatory?

  • Workplaces and businesses that are not commercial establishments, public transit, or commercial transportation are not part of the mandatory face covering directive.
  • Peterborough Public Health strongly recommends that all businesses and workplace develop a face covering policy that outlines when face coverings should be used in those spaces, particularly in any space where physical distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
    • Click below for a sample policy you can tailor to your operation:
    • When introducing a new workplace policy, be sure to incorporate training to ensure all employees understand the policy, know where face coverings are required, and where face coverings are allowed to be removed.

Can businesses require proof of exemption?

As per the Directive, no one is required to provide proof of exemption from wearing a face covering. Businesses should not ask for proof.

What do I do if someone is not wearing their face covering?

If your customer removes their face covering for extended periods of time, give them a verbal reminder of the requirement to wear a face covering under the policy. If someone enters your business and is not wearing a face covering, you are asked to remind them that it is mandatory, but you are not required to restrict entry or ask for proof of exemption.

How can I enforce the policy?

The policy will be enforced in “good faith” and is used to educate people on face covering in addition to physical distancing of two metres and other COVID-19 prevention measures such as respiratory etiquette and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting.

Can businesses turn people away?

No one should be turned away if unable to wear a face covering (exemptions). As always, it remains up to individual business owners and operators if they wish to refuse entry to individuals who may not have an exemption and choose not to wear one.

However, we are hoping for respectful implementation and are trusting individuals will do what they can to protect themselves and others.

You cannot tell by looking at someone whether they have a condition that restricts their ability to wear a face covering. Let’s remember to be kind to one another.

Can the customers remove their face covering?

Temporary removal of a face covering, where necessary, is permitted for the members of the public. For example:

  • When communicating with someone with hearing difficulties
  • Actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity including water-based activities;
  • Consuming food or drink;
  • While receiving services to areas of the face that would otherwise be covered by a face covering, when and where any such services are permitted under the regulations;
  • For any emergency or medical purpose.

Are the employees required to wear a face covering at all times?

If the employee works behind or within a physical barrier or in an area that is not designed for public access, a face covering is not needed,  provided that physical distancing of at least 2 metres is maintained from other employees within that area

Are restaurant servers required to wear face coverings?

Yes, servers are required to wear face coverings. As a server, physical distancing at all times will not be possible, which means a face covering must be worn. This would apply to both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Are restaurant kitchen staff required to wear face coverings?

Kitchen staff that can maintain a constant 2 metres physical distance from other individuals do not need a face covering.  Any kitchen staff who are unable to maintain 2 metres physical distance from other individuals are required to wear face coverings.

Is there an end date for the Directive?

The Directive will remain in effect until further notice from Peterborough Public Health. At this time, there is no specific end date for public health measures related to COVID-19 as control measures are dependent on the progression of the pandemic.

I am wearing a plastic face shield, is this okay?

When you wear a plastic shield, you do not have a snug fit around your nose, chin, and mouth. A face shield may provide extra precaution for the wearer against droplets from another person, but serve as a form of eye protection, rather than a face covering. Droplets can still be inhaled around the shield. Respiratory droplets from the wearer can also escape around the sides of the face shield, which provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, you should do it in combination with a cloth face covering. (Think about it like a car that has seatbelts AND airbags – both work together to protect the occupants of the car.)

Is a face shield a good alternative for someone who can’t wear a face covering?

Evidence shows that plastic face shields alone are NOT equivalent to wearing a face covering.

A face shield is not a substitute to wearing a face covering or face covering. It does not filter respiratory droplets and does not have a snug fit around the nose, mouth and chin. However, the WHO, (World Health Organization) supports the use of face shields as a “better than nothing” solution to face coverings. At a minimum, the face shield should cover the sides of the face and extend below the chin. (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html,

www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-and-face coverings)

Do I need to wear a face covering at a gym or fitness centre?

  • If you are working at a gym or fitness centre (i.e. reception or housekeeping) and NOT behind a physical barrier, you would be required to wear a face covering
  • If you are leading a group class, or lesson and NOT able to maintain physical distancing of 2m, you would be required to wear a face covering, provided that it doesn’t inhibit your ability to breathe.
  • If you are supporting a client (i.e. personal trainer, spotter, etc.), and NOT able to maintain physical distancing of 2m, you would be required to wear a face covering, provided that it doesn’t inhibit your ability to breathe.
  • If you are a client (i.e. working out, part of a physically distanced class or lesson) you would NOT be required to wear a face covering

Are face coverings required in places of worship?

Places of worship are not considered commercial establishments and are therefore not required to have a policy for mandatory face coverings.  However, Peterborough Public Health strongly recommends that all establishments, businesses, and organizations develop a policy requiring face coverings whenever 2 metres of physical distance cannot be maintained.

Where can I get more information?

If you have additional questions or concerns, you can contact Peterborough Public Health at (705) 743-1000 for more information.