Petition calls for mandatory public mask use in British Columbia

Sep 2 2020, 1:03 pm

An online petition calling for mandatory mask use in British Columbia is picking up momentum.

The petition was started by Ben Hynes, a resident who wants to see mandatory usage implemented across shared public spaces. Hynes says that like many others, he’s been “paying close attention” to the analytics and dynamic modelling made available throughout the pandemic. With concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic worsening over the fall and winter, he argues that it’s crucial to take action now.

“New case counts are rising faster than people are recovering for the first time since May,” Hynes tells Daily Hive. “Models suggest that mandatory mask usage could play a critical role in reducing measures of contagion.”

He says that one model suggests that if a universal mask order were implemented, it would eventually save tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives.

“That was the key factor for me,” he explains. “If something so simple as wearing a mask could potentially save so many lives, why shouldn’t we do it?”

This petition isn’t the first time that a mandatory mask policy has been pushed. In early August, a group of doctors penned an open letter addressed to the premier and BC health officials.

The letter, which includes the names of over 80 healthcare professionals, says they support mandatory mask wearing and the implementation of a public education initiative.

Additionally, Toronto City Council approved a temporary bylaw mandating the use of face masks in indoor settings in early July.

Hynes also argues that implementing a mandatory mask policy would benefit the province’s economy in the long run.

“My opinion is that we have certain tools available to us to control the spread of the pandemic, and there’s a balancing act playing out between managing a health disaster and managing an economic one,” he explains. “If we can better control public health, that means that consequently, we can avoid some economic harm by allowing businesses to operate more freely.”

At the time of writing, the petition has more than 2,200 signatures.

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