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Masks will be mandatory in health clinics, hospitals across N.W.T.

The N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authorities say "continuous masking" is coming to all its offices and facilities across the territory starting Sept. 14.

'Continuous masking' coming to all health and social services offices and facilities in N.W.T. on Sept. 14

The N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authorities say 'continuous masking' is coming to all its offices and facilities across the territory starting Sept. 14. (Katherine Barton/CBC)

The N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authorities say "continuous masking" is coming to all its offices and facilities across the territory, which include health clinics and hospitals.

In a press release Thursday, the authorities said the new requirements will go into effect Sept. 14, but they're encouraging the public to start wearing masks in offices and facilities immediately.

It says masks are an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The statement said an occupational health and safety risk assessment was completed at each health and social services authority office and workspace, which "took into account infection prevention, and control principles which protect staff, patients, clients, and visitors in our facilities."

"Based on these assessments, all employees that cannot maintain two metres of distance from other individuals will be required to wear either a cloth/non-medical mask, or a medical mask, depending on the nature of their work and location of their worksite and space."

In Yellowknife, masks are currently mandatory on city transit. They're also mandatory at Walmarts worldwide, including the location in Yellowknife.

"Wearing a mask is a reasonable intervention and another layer of protection that we can put in place to keep our communities safe," said Sue Cullen, CEO of the health authority in the statement.

"Our staff will be wearing masks when they cannot physically distance and we are asking the public to do the same. We need to work together to protect the N.W.T. from the threat of COVID-19."

The statement said people are asked to bring their own masks, but if they don't have one, staff "may be able to provide you with one."

The release states that there will be some exemptions. People who have medical reasons that make it unsafe for them to wear a mask will not be required to do so. People with respiratory issues will also be given medical-grade masks for additional protection.

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