WINNIPEG -- Manitobans who are planning to head to the lake or cottage next month in northwestern Ontario will need to make sure they have a mask packed along with their belongings.

The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), which includes Kenora, Dryden and Fort Frances, is making masks or face coverings mandatory in all enclosed public spaces next month to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

The policy takes effect Aug. 17, and will require all businesses and locations with an enclosed public space to have a mandatory mask-use policy.

A news release from the health unit said the policy is coming in place as communities in Ontario begin reopening from lockdowns, and as a way to prevent the spread of the virus.

“By wearing masks when in indoor public spaces, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and increase the likelihood of local businesses being able to stay open by keeping our case numbers low,” said Kit Young-Hoon, medical officer of health for the NWHU, in a statement.

The health unit said it’s hopeful the policy will normalize mask wearing ahead of a potential second wave of COVID-19, and adds mask wearing must be paired with other health measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and staying home if sick.

Several regions in Ontario have already implemented mandatory mask policies, including Toronto, the Peel Region and the Durham Region.

In Manitoba, the Winnipeg Airports Authority will make masks mandatory for everyone in the terminal starting July 29.