LONDON, ONT. -- A third area public health unit will mandate masks in certain indoor public spaces.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit says a health order mandating the wearing of face coverings in indoor establishments will be implemented in conjunction with the provincial Stage 3 re-opening.

“The order will enable establishment(s) to require face covering use by employees and customers and the means to remind the customer that they should be wearing a face covering as a result of the order,” a news release says.

“For greater clarity, there is not a need to turn away the customer to achieve the best effort standard.”

The release, issued Friday, says optimally three days' notice will be given following the provincial announcement, to provide sufficient time for affected parties to be adequately prepared.

The health unit says enforcement in general will be based on the good faith of individuals to participate as rigorous enforcement will not be desired.

Grey Bruce joins Huron-Perth and Middlesex-London in making masks or face coverings mandatory in some situations.

Grey Bruce says the order only applies to areas that are normally accessible to the general public and would not include areas such as an administrative area within the establishment.

Considerations will allow exemptions for children under the age of two years; or in some under the age of 5 years for those unable to tolerate face covering, or refusing to wear a face covering. Those who cannot tolerate face coverings for any medical condition or any reason required under the Human Rights Code will also be exempt.

Some establishments in Grey and Bruce Counties may be able to obtain masks for no cost, based on donations, for people who cannot purchase their own masks. Bruce Power has donated 120,000 one-time masks to local organizations including Chambers of Commerce and food banks in support of the re-opening.

“Asking people to wear a face covering is another tool we can use to prevent spread of COVID-19,” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ian Arra.

“We are seeing increasing complacency in the community with earlier recommendations of physical distancing. That and the Stage 3 re-opening plan will, by definition, include activities with highest contact intensity and that would require significant modifications to maintain public health safety. Mask use will reduce the risk for the most vulnerable of us.”

The health unit says the order will remain in place for four weeks, and can be renewed. This will provide time to develop more permanent solutions such as municipal by-laws or provincial regulations.