LONDON, ONT. -- Mandatory masking, or not? That was the the hot-button topic in a media briefing Wednesday that included London Mayor Ed Holder and the Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie.

“It’s something we are definitely considering and I will meet with council as soon as possible and I’m definitely looking forward to that,” Mackie said.

Holder announced a special Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee meeting will be held this coming Monday, with Mackie present to discuss mandatory masking.

It’s a topic some members of council have been pushing for this week, one that Mackie has resisted. His masking order only covers high-risk locations like buses, taxis and salons

“The reality is, we are in a very safe community. Our community has done an incredible job of controlling this pandemic,” says Mackie. “That’s something that should be celebrated and people should feel confident when they are out and about.”

However, with London being one of the communities entering Stage 3 as of this Friday, Holder says there are now new concerns.

“The concern isn’t that Londoners won’t continue safe health practices, it’s that now we will have bigger groups as you know,” says Holder. “Fifty people internally including restaurants and one-hundred externally in public settings to a variety of places where a closer proximity exists and the potential for catching COVID is greater.”

Despite not making masks mandatory, Mackie is encouraging Londoners use one.

“We’ve been strongly recommending mask use for well over a month, so none of that should be surprising to people and people should already be taking masking seriously and doing that whenever they are in a public space.”

Even if council decides to require masks on Monday, a bylaw won’t be official until it’s rubber stamped by council on Tuesday, five days after London has already entered Stage 3.