OTTAWA -- Residents will need to wear a non-medical face mask in indoor public places in an area stretching from Prescott-Russell to Cornwall, Alexandria and Hawkesbury.

The medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit says face masks will soon be mandatory in all indoor public places, with an announcement expected next week.

"We've been getting a lot of complaints and request by the public, email after email after email to our EOHU email website, requesting that we implement a mandatory masking in public indoor places, particularly businesses," said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Toronto city council approved a bylaw that makes face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces, starting July 7.  Ottawa Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said Monday Ottawa is "seriously" considering making face masks mandatory in indoor spaces, with an announcement expected later this week.

"We will recommend mandatory masking," said Dr. Roumeliotis about the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's recommendation for mandatory face masks in indoor public places. 

"If I wear a facial covering now, I'm protecting you. If you wear a face covering, you are protecting me. If we all wear it, we're protecting each other – everybody protects each other."

Dr. Roumeliotis says the details of a mandatory face mask policy in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region are being worked out, with an announcement expected next week.

Dr. Roumeliotis said officials decided it would be important to have a "regional approach" to a mandatory face mask policy, instead of different rules for the municipalities within the health unit.

There will be penalties if people do not wear a face mask in indoor places.

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 across Eastern Ontario Health Unit in the last week.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit covers the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott-Russell and the City of Cornwall.