What qualifies as a mask or face covering?
This can include a medical or non-medical mask or face covering such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.
A face shield does not meet the definition of a mask under this by-law.
Do people need to show proof that they are exempt from the by-law?
No person is required to provide proof of any of the exemptions set out in Section 2(1) of the by-law before entering an enclosed public space.
How will this by-law be enforced?
The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is taking a proactive education first approach to the by-law. By-law Enforcement Officers, Public Health Inspectors and Chatham-Kent Police will issue warnings when necessary.
What happens if someone breaches the by-law?
A person who breaches the by-law may be charged with a Provincial Offence. A Justice of the Peace would decide the amount of the fine if the person is found guilty.
How do I report someone for not wearing a face covering?
If you have concerns about someone not wearing a face covering, please keep in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the by-law and there is no requirement for people to prove their condition or disability. Many conditions are invisible. Residents and business owners should take people at their word and be kind and respectful.
If anyone appears to be willfully contravening the by-law, residents should discuss the violation with the business operator first. After this, if residents wish to report that another resident or local business is not in compliance with the by-law, they can do so by emailing COVID19enforcement@chatham-kent.ca or call 519-360-1998.
Can a business have a policy that sets a higher standard for masks than the by-law?
Yes. A business may set a higher standard for masks for patrons attending their business, provided that complies with other applicable laws.
Do I still need to stay 2 meters away from others if I am wearing a mask?
Yes. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a 2-metre distance even when wearing a mask.
Am I required to wear a mask at the gym, fitness class, yoga studio, etc.?
Sports facilities, sports clubs, gyms, yoga studios, dance studios, and stadiums are considered an enclosed public space under this by-law and masks are required. However, the by-law allows for the temporary removal of masks while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity.
Do I have to wear a mask while attending indoor religious services?
Yes. Masks are required in the interior areas of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or other places of worship where the public is invited or permitted access. There is no exemption in the by-law for the congregation to remove their masks during worship.
Are masks required during a wedding ceremony and/or reception?
Yes, masks are required during the ceremony, reception and any indoor pictures when in an enclosed public space. There is an exemption for masks to be removed while guests are consuming food or drink, but during other parts of the reception, masks are required to be worn.
Am I required to wear a mask in my apartment or condominium building's lobby and shared spaces?
No. The by-law does not apply to common areas of apartments or condominiums unless your property management had implemented an additional policy that requires face coverings should be worn in common spaces.
FAQ's for Business Owners and Operators
What is my responsibility as a business owner?
Businesses that provide indoor services have a role to play in helping everyone comply with the new by-law.
Operators of enclosed public spaces are required to post visible signs with specific messaging about the by-law that indicates the face-covering requirement. Business owners can download a sign to print and display here: Mask By-law Sign
What if someone enters my business without a mask?
If a person arrives without a mask, operators must notify them of the mask requirements as soon as possible after they enter the premises.
If the customer says they are exempt from the by-law, they do not need to show proof and no further action is needed on behalf of the operator.
If a patron refuses to wear a mask and is not exempt from the by-law, a business operator may report the issue to the Municipality of Chatham-Kent at 519-360-1998 or by email COVID19enforcement@chatham-kent.ca for follow-up.
Can I require proof of exemption?
No. The by-law does not require people to provide proof of exemption.
Do employees need to wear a face-covering in staff-only areas?
No. Employees or staff while in a staff-only area or an area separated by a physical barrier (such as plexiglass) are not required to wear a face covering.