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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Medical Officer of Health to Issue Order to Reduce Risk in Specific Circumstances

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London, ON – In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, Middlesex-London’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Chris Mackie, will issue a Section 22 Class Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that will compel higher risk businesses to follow public health principles, including staff and customers using masks when in prolonged close contact with clients. The Order comes following a review of local data and research on the effectiveness of masks as an additional public health measure to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. It will be issued for London and Middlesex County on Monday, July 6th.

The Class Order will mandate all businesses in London and Middlesex that provide direct face-to-face service less than two metres away from the customer for more than 15 minutes to: A) be aware of the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s COVID-19 Public Health Principles for Public Spaces and take reasonable steps to implement them, and B) ensure that their customers, as well as employees, volunteers, and contractors who provide direct services, wear masks whenever they are delivering or receiving services. These would include direct services provided in:

  • Hair salons and nail salons,
  • Other relevant personal service settings currently operating or reopening in Stage 3,
  • Any other service where workers are less than two metres from a customer for more than 15 minutes.

A separate order will require riders of public transit to wear a mask while on board.

The risk of COVID-19 in Middlesex and London is now lower than at the peak in April. However, as businesses reopen, outbreaks of the disease continue to occur in this region and elsewhere, in spite of otherwise low or very low case counts. The outbreak in Kingston of 27 cases associated with a nail salon, after weeks of 0-1 cases per week, is an example.

Physical distancing and limiting unnecessary contact remain the cornerstones of COVID-19 prevention. However, evidence continues to mount that even non-medical masks can help reduce the spread of viruses by containing respiratory droplets that are emitted when a person who may be infected with the virus talks, sneezes or coughs.

“The most important risk at this point in the pandemic is that a person with COVID-19, if they are not careful, could generate a significant outbreak. If you are out in the community, keeping two metres apart is your strongest protection,” says Dr. Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Masks also have an important role.”

The Order will be issued Monday, July 6th, 2020, and will come into effect on July 20th.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Milne, Communications Coordinator, Middlesex-London Health Unit,
519-617-0564 (cell)

Spokesperson:
Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO, Middlesex-London Health Unit

Tags: COVID-19, Coronavirus