Although a mandatory mask bylaw is now in effect in the City of Brampton, businesses are not allowed to question customers who claim exemptions from wearing them.
On July 10, Brampton council officially approved a mask bylaw, making masks and face-coverings mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
This temporary bylaw requires public establishments and businesses to ensure that masks or face coverings are worn in indoor public spaces under their control.
Non-medical masks or face coverings are now required in all indoor public spaces including retail stores, inside restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries and convenience stores, churches and mosques, indoor community and recreational facilities, shopping malls, common areas of hotels and motels, libraries, museums, galleries, banquet halls, conventions centres, arenas and stadiums.
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Individuals and businesses not adhering to this by-law may be fined a minimum of $500 and a maximum of up to $100,000 for each offence.
While the bylaw does exempt certain individuals, including those who cannot wear a mask or facial covering due to medical reasons, it is important to remember that businesses are not allowed to question medical exemption claims from customers.
“When a person is not wearing a mask or refuses to wear a face covering, that person shall be required to identify that they are exempt, but they are not required to identify which exemption applies to them,” said Diana Soos, the City’s acting solicitor.
This means that the bylaw includes a provision that requires business owners to accept when customers may claim an exemption.
Regardless of the situation, both business owners and employees are not supposed to ask questions, for proof or for any further details should a customer state they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
In a recent council meeting, Councillor Michael Palleschi asked Soos what businesses should do when customers refuse to wear masks and are claiming exemptions, to which she responded that medical exemptions cannot be questioned regardless of the situation or suspicions of it being a lie.
“The bylaw is very explicit on this,” said Soos.
“When a person is not wearing a mask or refuses to wear a face covering, that person shall be required to identify that they are exempt, but they are not required to identify which exemption applies to them.”
Soos went on to explain that customers do not have to go into details about their medical conditions or provide an explanation.
“They don’t have to explain to the operator of the business, ‘I have a medical exemption, I have asthma,’ and the operator shouldn’t ask that question,” said Soos.
“They are simply required to say to the operator ‘I’m exempt under the bylaw’ and the operator should except that. And certainly, the operator should not be requesting proof from the individual.”
For more information on the City’s mandatory mask bylaw, visit www.brampton.ca