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Mandatory masks

Non-medical face masks required beginning Aug. 24

Campus and Community

By Sandy Woolfrey-Fahey

Since early July, Memorial has strongly encouraged wearing non-medical masks while on campus.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 24, masks must be worn in public indoor spaces in Newfoundland and Labrador as issued in a special measures order by Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer.

Therefore, non-medical masks will be mandatory beginning on Monday for Memorial faculty, staff, students and visitors. These must be worn in public spaces and common areas or any time a two-meter physical distance cannot be maintained while at university facilities or while conducting Memorial business off-campus.

Information about masks will be integrated into Memorial’s COVID-19 awareness training and the related health and safety moment. For directions on proper use of masks, please view this video.

Where to wear

Areas where masks must be worn include, but are not limited to, hallways, publicly accessible lobbies, elevators, reception areas, stairways, washrooms, laboratories, the shuttle bus, in Memorial-owned vehicles transporting more than one person, any work areas where two-meter distance cannot be maintained, when entering and exiting classrooms and in lunchrooms when not seated.

Please speak to a supervisor if you are an employee and are not able to wear a mask and require an accommodation. As well, if you are experiencing challenges acquiring masks, or there are exceptional circumstances, you must notify your supervisor to determine options and a course of action.

Previous unit level health and safety plans do not need to be re-submitted for approval. Please apply the new special measures order to your current plan.

As part of our shared responsibility, individuals are asked to use personal reusable, non-medical cloth masks, which not only assists in Memorial’s collective effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but is a more sustainable choice to disposable alternatives.

In the short term, if you arrive on campus without a mask, a limited supply of disposable masks are available at Campus Enforcement and Patrol.

MUN Safe can be used to report non-compliance. Employees are reminded to continue to work remotely whenever possible and approval for on-campus work is still required.

When masks are not required

Exemptions for the use of masks under the special measures include.

  • Seated areas – Individuals seated in their chairs at their desks, provided physical distancing of two metres can be achieved between individuals or bubbles and provided they wear a mask when moving around in these places:
    • Classrooms (when the two-meter distance can be maintained)
    • When protective barriers are in place and a consistent two-meter distance can be maintained
    • Offices and cubicles (when the two-meter distance can be maintained)
    • The chapel (when the two-meter distance can be maintained)
    • Individuals wearing religious face coverings
    • Eating or drinking when two-meter distance can be maintained
  • Workplaces – Employees must wear a mask when in a publicly accessible lobby, reception area, hallway, stairway or elevator; however, requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations, as well as any workplace-specific health and safety plans, will continue to apply to workers (for example, if a job requires a respirator, the respirator must be worn instead of the non-medical mask).
  • Physical condition or mental health – People whose particular physical condition or mental health prevents them from wearing a mask (these people are encouraged to wear a face shield instead, if possible), including but not limited to:
    • Individuals who are unable to put it on or take it off by themselves due to a physical disability;
    • Individuals with facial deformities;
    • Individuals who, due to cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, an autism spectrum disorder, or a severe mental health condition, are unable to understand the requirement, or for whom wearing a mask causes significant distress;
    • Individuals who have a severe skin condition on the face or ears that is significantly aggravated by wearing a mask;
    • Individuals with a severe respiratory condition or disease for whom a mask would further impair their breathing (please note that there is no evidence that indicates non-medical masks impair oxygenation of those with respiratory disease);
    • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Under provincial regulations, a person found in breach of these orders could face a fine of $500 to $2,500, or jail time up to six months, or both a fine and jail time. A corporation found in breach of these orders could face a fine of $5,000-$50,000.

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