Windsor Essex County Health Unit has issued an order making it mandatory to wear face covering in any commercial space effective beginning at 12:01am on Friday, June 26, 2020.
WindsorEats will break down what the mandatory face mask order means for you heading out to support a local dining establishment.
The Windsor Essex County Health Unit describes a face covering as a medical mask or a non-medical mask or other face coverings such as a bandana, a scarf or cloth (including hijab and niqab) that covers the mouth, and nose ensuring a barrier that limits the community transmission.
It is mandatory to wear a face mask at a restaurant for:
- Indoor take-out counters
- Indoor dining area when indoor dining becomes permissible
- Food preparation areas that are open to the public
- When heading to, from and using the bathrooms
Face masks in restaurants will not be required for:
- Outdoor drive-through windows
- Outdoor dining area
- Kitchen area that is physically separated from dining area and not accessible to the public
- Staff lounge not accessible to the public
- Stock/storage room not accessible to the public
- Private office (e.g. manager’s office)
- Shipping/receiving area not accessible to the public
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The face covering order applies to any customer, patron, employee or visitor, who enters the physical restaurant. The face covering must be worn inside the establishment at all times, unless it is reasonably required to temporarily remove the face covering for services provided by the restaurant.
In short, customers do not have to wear a face covering while sitting on the patio dining, but, you will if you head inside to the washrooms. We strongly recommend that customers wear a face covering walking to and from their seats out of common courtesy as well as for the safety of staff, other patrons and themselves.
Please make note that the Province of Ontario indicates that social distancing of 2m is still required between customers from different social circles, staff and customers, as well as staff and other staff.
These requirements are mandatory for restaurants to follow and they face fines and penalties when they aren’t. We ask that you please be kind and courteous to all staff and restaurant owners as they are already under an immense amount of stress. We also ask that you respect the social distancing requirement of 2m of other patrons at all times, even while walking to and from your seat.
Heading out to dine isn’t about preaching your beliefs. It’s about trying to escape reality for a brief moment and enjoy a slice of some type of normalcy.