Is it mandatory to wear a mask in public?


As Canada is gradually reopening, must you wear a mandatory mask in public? It is the recommendation of a group of Canadian doctors and scientists who are urging legislators to wear a mask a requirement in public spaces, including schools, crowded shops, parks and public transportation. But other experts say making mandatory masks may not be the right solution.

Dr. Amy Tan, a family doctor in Calgary supporting the Masks4Canada campaign, says the group wants to see 80% of Canadians wearing masks in public, a figure that research suggests can significantly reduce infection rates .

The national campaign, but Tan said mandating masks is essential in three of the hardest hit, the provinces, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta – which account for more than 94% of all cases.

Poll indicates that Canada is falling short of 80% figure, Tan said, pointing to a recent Leger Marketing survey that suggested 48% of Canadians are wearing masks in public.

“Unfortunately, we find that the mask wearing rates are not at the speed where the entire community will be protected,” Tan said.


When it comes to needs when wearing a mask in Canada, the rules are a bit uneven.

Many transit authorities recommend or require passengers to wear masks, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Guelph.

Anyone traveling by air to Canada is required to wear a face mask cloth, following an order from Transport Canada in April, and airlines must provide masks for passengers who have not not their own, depending on stocks available.

Ride-native apps Uber and Lyft have both made it mandatory to wear masks for drivers and passengers.

A few small municipalities have been up to mandate masks in public spaces, including the Montreal suburb of Côte Saint-Luc, where people who do not wear masks in a business or belonging to the construction city can face to fines between $ 100 and $ 500.

Health authorities in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Ontario have introduced similar rules prohibiting people from entering businesses, without masks, with fines of up to $ 5,000 for those who do not attend. not conform.

Tan said she doesn’t want to see it restrictive rules as punishing people who don’t wear masks, and his group clarifies that the regulation shouldn’t apply to children under the age of two or people with health complications who cannot wear a mask.

“We are not calling for harsh sanctions, like fines or problems with the legal system. For workplaces, we don’t discipline if we don’t want to wear a mask, “she said.

“What we are asking for is appropriate educations. We are all in the same, being on the community protecting each other through these extraordinary moments. ”

Research suggests that these rules could be beneficial. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of the United States of America estimated that the requirement of masks prevented more than 78,000 infections more than a month from the duration of Italy and has prevented more than 66,000 infections for three weeks in New York City.


Dr. Michael Curry, an emergency doctor in the Delta, B.C., said mandatory mask making should only be done in situations where distancing is not possible.

“It is probably useful, but really, it should be secondary to the physics of remoteness,” Curry told in a telephone interview Thursday.

He says it makes sense to wear a mask in dense areas like planes, public transportation, Ubers and elevators, but that all of the rules governing these spaces need to be communicated clearly.

Tom Koch, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia who studied geography, medicine and ethics, said masks are an essential tool in the fight against the virus, but that unless an epidemic is widespread, strongly encouraging people to wear masks, perhaps the best approach.

“Whether they are mandatory or not depends in part on the severity of the epidemic in a particular location,” Koch said.

“I’m in Vancouver today, where the numbers have been pretty low. On the transit, I would say that 50% of the runners did not wear masks. In Toronto, the percentage is higher, but then it’s an awareness of the numbers. “


Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford denied the mayor of Markham, Ont. Request that masks be worn in public spaces. Mayor Frank Scarpitti, whose borders are in the Toronto area, has expressed concern that the province could see a spike in cases without such rules.

“We have to encourage people,” Ford told reporters Tuesday. “We don’t have the manpower for police regulations and officers to chase people off without the masks.”

Several American states, including California, Michigan, New York, Maine, Delaware and Maryland, have issued orders that make the wearing of masks mandatory in certain public places. No Canadian province or territory has gone that far yet.

In her work as a family doctor, Tan said that she has seen her patients confused by the rules on masks.

“For the first two months it didn’t matter what I was talking to patients about, a level of COVID of education going on with regard to this distancing physique was, how to clean things up, and where not masks are helpful, ”she says.

Over 800 people have pledged to support Masks4Canada in the campaign. While keeping the safety of Canadians a priority, imposing masks could help boost the economy in these turbulent times, Tan said.

“Our call is to prevent disease and illness in people, but it is also very much about protecting the economy, at the same time,” she said.

With files from CTV Toronto Katherine DeClerq, Ben Cousins ​​and The Associated Press


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