Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy, says there’s no need for mask regulations
TORONTO — Toronto Public Health is asking Toronto City Council to approve a motion that would allow staff to use masks in public spaces, instead of requiring users to take them off when entering.
City of Toronto’s health and safety committee discussed the motion on Tuesday.
It would allow staff to wear masks in the office and public spaces as long as the masks are transparent and can be taken off if they are required, such as to wash hands.
“If we need to wear them for any other purpose, they would be removed,” says a letter from the City’s communications office to committee members opposing the motion.
However, if staff require a mask for the purpose of protecting them from COVID-19, staff would have to remove it, or put one on if it could not be put on, the letter notes.
“Staff may wear masks in the workplace if they are ‘reproductive use only’ or when they are required by the employer’s policy for any of their normal safety practices,” the letter reads.
Committee members questioned if the motion would have the effect of creating a “mask culture,” while Health Minister Christine Elliott rejected the idea that masks would lead to the creation of a “mask culture.”
“My understanding is that the mask issue is about being as safe as possible,” she said.
The letter also states that masks would only be required for people with compromised immune systems and cannot be used as an “entry-exit” for people with colds.
The motion was requested last Friday and has been in the works for months.
“If mask requirements were not being honoured, and there was a suggestion that we were not accommodating for the risk level for the employees, we would probably request that the motion be put forward to allow staff to wear masks as a proactive measure,” city spokesperson Mike DeGise said.
The motion also gives employees a deadline of April 5 for submissions from their employer, which must be on hand by April 3
“As in all discussions involving public health issues, the City believes it is critical that we give employers the opportunity to present their position and provide more information on their decision-making and