New mask rules more voluntary than mandatory - at least in practice
Published Monday, July 20, 2020 6:52PM EDT
LONDON, ONT. -- New mask orders took effect for London Monday and over the weekend, but in some instances they might look more like suggestions than actual orders.
Anyone who hopped on a bus or entered a building that wasn’t a private home in the last couple of days was likely wearing a mask... but not necessarily.
LTC passenger Rob Oates-Calver was sitting by himself on a bus when CTV News caught up with him.
He said he chose not to wear a mask at that time, because he wasn’t sitting near anyone. “I’m not wearing a mask, but if there were another five or six people I would pull my mask out of my pocket and put it on.”
Transit operator Dave Gormley said as far as he knows the mask rule on buses is not mandatory at all, but rather in practice it seems to be voluntary. At least he’s not about to order anyone to wear a mask.
“We’ve been given directions that we can’t enforce anything. We can instruct people, let them know what things are going on, but we can’t force anybody to do it.”
The public transportation rule regarding masks also applies to ride-sharing services and taxis.
Cab Driver Cyrus Vahavi said passengers have been cool about it so far, and if they don’t happen to have a mask he has a few extra on hand.
“They do get into the cab with a mask, or they do have it in their pocket. Since it became mandatory most of them are wearing it.”
The transportation rule concerning masks is not to be confused with a health order that came into effect on Saturday, making it mandatory to wear a mask inside all enclosed public spaces.
The order was issued with just a few hours notice, and only a day after Middlesex-London went into Stage 3 of reopening.
Business owner Shane Kenneth, who runs Coffee Culture on Dundas Street with his with Tammy, said it wasn’t a lot of time to act.
He said they’re also trying to avoid any confrontation with customers who may not want to comply with the COVID-19 protocols, including the mandatory mask.
“I believe the city has said that we don’t have to tell people to leave. Now if they’re causing a disturbance, if they’re disrespecting other peoples’ personal space, they’re not socially distancing, then we’ve asked people to leave. And we also do contact tracing here, and I explain that we only want your first name, and we only want your phone number, and we don’t want to call you. I guarantee you we do not want to call you.”
In the meantime, even the Middlesex-London Health Unit, which issued the mask orders, said it does not plan to do spot checks.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said they’ll rely on the public to keep them abreast of what’s happening.
“What happens is if there are issues with one business, consumers will complain about that business, then we will send staff out to ensure the business is doing what’s appropriate.”