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Mayor asks for report on masks

Council asked to get community feedback to bring back to next meeting
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Timmins council is gearing up to debate mandating masks. 

At tonight's council meeting, Timmins Mayor George Pirie asked for a report on masks at the next meeting July 14. It would include input from Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton.

“There’s been a number of correspondences to me directly recommending that we do this. It’s an issue that I would like council to consider,” he said.

In the weeks until the meeting, he asked council to talk to fully engage people in the discussion.

Currently, the Porcupine Health Unit recommends wearing a mask when physical distancing isn't possible.

There are cases of regional medical officers of health in Ontario issuing an order. For example, it was done in the Wellington Dufferin Health Unit at the start of Phase 2 of reopening, and in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health district where several cases were traced back to one service-based business.

The City of Toronto voted unanimously today to require masks or face coverings in all indoor public places starting July 7.

Pirie noted the city has been doing well with COVID-19 so far. 

To date, there have been 67 confirmed cases in the Porcupine Health Unit area. Of those, 57 are resolved and eight people have died. There are two known active cases of the virus. 

The latest cases were reported last week. Before then Pirie noted there was a 42-day period with no cases. 

“We’re doing very, very well. At the moment, and that is the issue. We’re not out of this, the country is a long way from being out of this and certainly, we see to the south of us basically a situation that’s out of control," he said. 

"Certainly the issue when it comes to masks is enforcement. We have five bylaw officers and the fact that it would be impossible for them to enforce masks and, like every other thing that we’ve done in this crisis, the idea that you get buy-in from the community is tremendously important and the community has bought in."

Pirie said masks were also talked about in a meeting with the emergency response team, and that it was the first time it's been brought up.

To provide feedback on masks, residents can contact their ward councillor

Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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