Lots of discussion, little action as Board of Health leaves mandatory mask debate to council
LONDON, ONT -- The pressure was on Thursday night at the Board of Health meeting as some members suggested finding ways to make masks mandatory as soon as possible.
“I think that this discussion needs to be had today where we can talk about who really gets to decide the mandatory masking,” said board member and city councillor Arielle Kayabaga.
She was hopeful Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie would consider a mandatory masking order during the meeting, rather than leave it up to city council members to discuss with Mackie on Monday after phase three is already in effect
“As much as I understand the need to do it and the urgency as we go into stage three, I feel uncomfortable as a councillor to have to override the decision that you're making.”
Board member Kelly Elliot, Deputy Mayor of Thames centre agreed with Kayabaga
“I strongly believe that mandatory masking should be a decision based on public health that is based on evidence. When it becomes a political decision the science and the data behind mandatory masking gets muddled,” said Elliot.
Throughout the discussion Dr. Mackie made it clear he's not against masks and agrees they are beneficial.
“You know the literature is rich right now with examples of evidence for the effectiveness of masking in certain circumstances with certain types of masks, in certain environments,” said Mackie.
In the meantime, Kayabaga tried to pass a motion recommending Mackie make masking mandatory in all indoor public spaces as soon as possible.
The motion was shot down by board members who didn't feel comfortable as non-medical experts making a recommendation to a medical expert.
Those same board members however did pass a motion to advocate that the Provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health consider making masks mandatory across the province and a whole.
The local mask discussion with city council will continue on Monday.