Despite COVID-19 cases lowering and businesses beginning to reopen to the public, the Ontario government has said that face coverings and masks will not be made mandatory during this time. Recommendations by the health officials do say that one should wear them for safety precaution.
This announcement came when Premier Doug Ford was questioned about the Greater Toronto Area remaining in stage one of the reopening process while other regions in the province enter stage two.
Ford went on to say that he and his government will continue to encourage wearing masks while not making them mandatory, as he says that monitoring and policing a population of 14.5 million to wear face coverings would be “very, very difficult”.
“We just don’t have the manpower for bylaw and police officers to be chasing people without masks,” Ford said to the media.
“We have to encourage people… I’ll be having that conversation and I highly, recommend you go outside and you’re in large groups or you’re in shopping centres, wear a mask”.
The act of making face coverings mandatory has been brought up by Ontario officials, like Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who called for the Ontario government to change their strategy when it comes to reopening.
Scarpitti believes that Ontario is in danger of a spike in COVID-19 cases if the reopening regions in the province don’t have the health measures put in place that are shared in every region,
“We need the same rules across the province of Ontario. It becomes difficult for the public to understand what a rule is in one jurisdiction versus another… If the provincial government does not move forward making it mandatory to wear masks, I’m asking retailers and even some of the restaurants to impose no masks, no service,” Scarpitti said.
Scarpitti and Ford are set to have discussions regarding this matter this afternoon.
Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliott has countered this argument, as she explains that physical distancing remains to be the most effective method in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“The guidance we have received from the chief medical officer of health, as well as the other public health experts at the command table, is that the physical distancing is still the most important rule to follow, that we should continue to do that for the foreseeable future, and that masks should be worn in situations when that’s not going to be possible,” Elliott said.
“Several retailers have decided that they want masks to be worn if people want to enter and that’s the retailers right to do that. So it’s not mandatory, it’s recommended, again when physical distancing can’t be achieved”.
Ontario COVID-19 stats
The Ontario government announced today that 184 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported. In addition, they have also reported that the hospitalizations related to the virus have also entered a downward trend.
The reports also mark the third day in a row that the province has reported less than 200 cases.
The province has also recently completed over a million COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic.
According to Health Minister Christine Elliot, “Ontario remains the leader in daily COVID-19 testing in Canada and our positivity rate continues to be at all-time lows.”
Yesterday it was reported that Ontario completed 21,724 COVID-19 tests with 17,920 tests still under investigation.
Confirmed cases: 32,554 (+181)
Recoveries: 27,431 (+218)
Deaths: 2,538 (+11)
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