What business owners need to know

Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario here.

The Business Owner/Operator shall conspicuously post at all entrances to the Establishment clearly visible signage containing the following text:

ALL PERSONS ENTERING OR REMAINING IN THESE PREMISES SHALL WEAR A MASK OR FACE COVERING WHICH COVERS THE NOSE, MOUTH AND CHIN AS REQUIRED UNDER CITY OF SARNIA BY-LAW No 76 of 2020

Printable Posters

For your convenience, the attached posters can be printed and posted in your establishment. A sign from Lambton Public Health regarding masking and physical distancing for posting can also be downloaded. The attached poster is compliant with By-Law 76 of 2020

The City’s By-law also requires owner and operators of enclosed public places to prohibit a person from entering or remain in the enclosed public place without a face covering.  As well, the Operator shall ensure that all persons working at the Establishment are trained in the requirements of the policy and this By-law.

Are employees required to wear a mask?

The by-law does not apply to staff-only areas such as lunch rooms and storerooms. Employers may have their own policies related to employee-only areas.

Employees are required to wear a face covering in areas where customers interact with one another or with staff members or in any areas that are accessible to members of the public, such as:

  • retail floor/aisles
  • cashier queues
  • service counter queues
  • publicly accessible washrooms

Workplaces may have other safety measures in place like plexiglass barriers, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and physical distancing.

What if someone enters my business without a face covering on?

Business owners/operators are not expected to question members of the public who are not wearing a face covering.

Businesses also have the right to create additional standards over and above this by-law, pursuant to the Trespass to Property Act and their responsibilities under the Occupier’s Liability Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Who is required to wear a face covering under the Mandatory Face Covering By-law?

Any customer, patron, employee or visitor, who enters an enclosed public place is mandated to wear a face covering except for those who are exempt.

The by-law exempts:

  • a child who is under the age of 5 years old
  • a person who is unable to put on or remove a face covering without assistance
  • a person with a medical condition or other disability that inhibits their ability to wear a face covering, including persons who are reasonably accommodated pursuant to the (Ontario) Human Rights Code by not wearing a face covering
  • employees or agents of the owner or operator of any enclosed public place within or behind a physical barrier or within an area designated for them and to which the general public is not invited
  • any paramedic, fire fighter or police officer acting in the course of their duties

Does the by-law require business owners/operators to turn people away who are not wearing a face covering?

Both individuals and business owners/operators have a responsibility to ensure that the individual in an indoor, public place is wearing a face covering.

The City is employing an education first approach to by-law enforcement of the mask by-law; however, if a business owner/operator is regularly permitting entry to persons without face coverings the business owner could be charged for non compliance with the by-law. If an individual is simply refusing to comply with the by-law and is not exempt, the individual can be fined. If both are at fault for breaching the by-law, both could be fined.

Businesses also have the right to create additional standards over and above the City’s by-law, pursuant to the Trespass to Property Act and their responsibilities under the Occupier’s Liability Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

What if business owners/operators do not ensure compliance with the by-law?

The City’s primary approach to enforcement of the Mandatory Face Covering By-law is education, however, failure to comply could result in fines as per by-law 76 of 2020.

Both individuals and business owners/operators have a responsibility to ensure that the individual in an indoor, public place is wearing a face covering as per the Mask by-law.

If a business owner/operator is regularly permitting entry to persons without face coverings the business owner could be charged for non compliance with the by-law. If an individual is simply refusing to comply with the by-law and is not exempt, the individual can be fined. If both are at fault for breaching the by-law, both could be fined.

Are business owners/operators required to ask for proof of exemption?

No. The by-law does not require people to provide proof of an exemption.

Are employees required to wear a face covering in staff only areas?

The by-law does not apply to staff-only areas such as lunch rooms and storerooms. Employers may have their own policies related to employee-only areas.

Employees are required to wear a face covering in areas where customers interact with one another or with staff members or in any areas that are accessible to members of the public, such as:

  • retail floor/aisles
  • cashier queues
  • service counter queues
  • publicly accessible washrooms

Workplaces may have other safety measures in place like plexiglass barriers, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and physical distancing.

Should I report customers/visitors who are not wearing a face covering?

It’s important to keep in mind that the City’s By-law department will not be able to respond to all calls and will be focusing on education and encouraging of compliance rather than enforcement. Business owners/operators can contact the City at 519-332-0330 or by email to covid@sarnia.ca if non-compliance is significant and ongoing and additional educational resources and support are needed. After hours inquiries can be directed to Sarnia Police at 519-344-8861.