By Chad Ingram
As of Monday the Haliburton Kawartha PineRidge District Health Unit has mandated that face masks be worn withincommercial establishments and indoor public spaces within its jurisdiction amidthe ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This will continue to be the case afterFriday when Haliburton County and many other parts of Ontario enter Stage 3 ofthe provincial government's COVID-19 recovery process. In fact according tothe health unit “Although we have seen a decline in thenumber of COVID-19 cases in our area we want to be sure we continue to see adecrease as we move towards the reopening of more businesses within theprovince.”
Mandatory masks have been met with someresistance some espousing the view that it's somehow a trampling of theirrights an impingement of their freedoms. It's not or at least not any morethan any law that governs what most would consider our fairly civil society.Every single law is an impingement on individual freedoms in the name of thegreater good. It's the social contract that governs our civilization. The lawthat says I can't drive as fast as I feel like impinges my freedom as does thelaw that says I can't just walk into a store and steal whatever I feel like orthe one that says I can't slap you across the face with a glove if you saysomething outrageous.
Mandated face masks are a requirement frompublic health agencies to keep as many people as possible safe during anongoing global health crisis. Yes there has been inconsistent messaging onthis during the coronavirus outbreak. At first we were told that it didn't seemthey offered any benefit but to wear one if it made us feel comfortable andthat message has since changed to say that wearing masks can help protectothers if we are carriers of the virus. It's important to remember the globalscientific community is still grappling with a new virus and there are stillmany unanswered questions about how it operates how long it can lingerre-infection etc.
Many of us have already been wearing facemasks while shopping for some time. It might be a bit inconvenient sure butit's really not a big deal. There are also exemptions for those with certainhealth conditions etc.
Also please don't be a mask bully. Thatis if you see someone without a mask on just assume they have a good reasonand leave them alone. It's up to business owners not you to police that.We've been living with this crisis for four months now are still a long wayfrom the finish line and many of us are tired irritable and anxious. Gettinginto a confrontation with a stranger over face masks isn't going to be helpfulfor anybody.
Wearing a mask is easy and has potentiallyvery beneficial effects like not killing someone. You can also find somepretty styling handmade ones now if you're so inclined. COVID-19 numbers inOntario have been dropping for weeks and we've certainly done a good job inthe county with just 10 confirmed cases in four months all of them nowconsidered resolved. Let's keep it going.