Workers wearing masks and social distancing

Health Unit recommends businesses encourage staff and patrons to wear a mask

Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit has issued a letter of recommendation to businesses and organizations to highlight a surge in COVID-19 activity that is being experienced across Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes and is asking for assistance in encouraging both employees and patrons to wear a mask in indoor settings.

Wear a mask despite the lack of provincial requirements

Wearing a well-fitted mask is a public health measure that is a simple way to protect yourself and protect others from COVID-19. We can contribute to reducing the impact of COVID-19 by continuing to layer protective measures, even though provincial requirements have been lifted.

The evidence for masking is strong and is an important layer of protection against COVID-19, especially for those who are unable to get vaccinated (e.g., children under 5 yrs.), those who have not yet chosen to be vaccinated, and those who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness (e.g., immunocompromised, medically-at-risk and the elderly). The most effective masks are respirators (e.g. KN95), medical mask or three-layer cloth mask. Any mask should be well-fitted, covering nose and mouth, and should not be used if damp or visibly soiled.

What you can do

As an employer, business or organization, you can:

  • Strongly encourage your staff to wear a well-fitted mask when working in public indoor spaces, especially when two metres of physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Strongly encourage your patrons/clients to wear a well-fitted mask in your indoor premise by posting signage at the entrance and throughout the setting. Printable signs are available here.
  • Remind staff and patrons/clients to remain kind, considerate and respectful to those who continue wearing a mask

Businesses play an important role

Despite the lifting of provincial restrictions, the pandemic is not over. As an employer, business or organization, you have an important role to play in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and helping keep our communities healthy and safe. [Our Living Well Alongside COVID-19 webpage] provides some additional recommendations for operating alongside COVID-19.

What we know about the current state of COVID-19:

  • The BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is now the dominant strain circulating in Ontario
  • BA.2 is more transmissible than the original Omicron variant (BA.1)
  • Evidence suggests that BA.2 does not lead to more severe illness
  • COVID-19 activity is increasing across the province and in our region o Locally, we are seeing an increase in outbreaks in high-risk settings such as long-term care homes and in hospitalizations

Our website is updated regularly with the latest information on COVID-19: www.hkpr.on.ca

Thank you for helping to keep our communities healthy,

Natalie Bocking, MD MIPH CCFP FRCPC 
Medical Officer of Health, Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit