London to enter Stage 3 without requiring masks: Council meets next week
LONDON, ONT -- There is no requirement to wear masks in most public settings in London, at least not yet, but city and health officials will meet Monday to discuss the issue.
Speaking during the virtual media briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Ed Holder said council will hold a special meeting with Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie to discuss the issue on Monday.
The news comes following a long meeting at City Hall Tuesday evening, where council decided it needed more time to consult with Mackie before considering a temporary mask bylaw.
A long debate by council members revealed the pressure politicians are feeling about the contentious issue of mandating masks in public places.
Holder turned up the heat on medical officer of health to expand his masking order to include all public spaces.
“My absolute preference would be for the medical officer of health to declare that masks be made mandatory,” said Holder.
To date Mackie has limited his order to high-risk locations like buses, taxis and salons.
If council wants to mandate masks, it will require passing a bylaw.
“Just as we rely on our engineer for engineering decisions, we should be able to ask questions of our chief medical officer of health before we make a decision on a public health matter,” said Councillor Shawn Lewis.
Rather than make a decision on masks, council directed staff to consult with Mackie and Middlesex County, and requested that he appear at a meeting to answer questions as soon as possible.
“People might have different opinions about what kind of masking is required, but I hope people agree that having the Medical Officer of Health come hear and answer questions is the right way to handle it,” said Deputy Mayor Jesse Helmer.
A key topic of discussion at that meeting will be the jurisdictional boundaries of the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
Several other Ontario cities including Guelph and Toronto currently require masks in enclosed public spaces.