Recently, the city of Calgary made it mandatory for all residents to wear masks when outside of their house. This comes just after the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses requested the government of Saskatchewan do the same thing to help slow the spread of COVID 19.
Mayor Fraser Tolmie addressed the issue, saying that right now there is no talk of making masks mandatory in Moose Jaw, but he's not sure what the future holds.
"We don't have anything concerning mandatory masks at this time. But if you're wearing a mask, you're protecting others, and if someone else is wearing a mask, they're protecting those that aren't. I will be speaking with the province in the near future and seeing what the update is, as well as their perspective on what's going on from the Health Minister."
A recent poll done by the Angus Reid Institute, showed 45% of provincial residents are opposed to mandatory masks, making Saskatchewan the least supportive of the move in the country.
In Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, and the Maritimes, only between 20% and 30% were against the move, while Alberta sat at 40%.
Tracy Zambory, president of Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) says it's time that provincial bodies and the residents took the prospect of wearing masks seriously.
"We are advocating for and calling on the provincial government to immediately institute mandatory masking in indoor areas where you can’t physically distance. The spike that we’ve seen in the southwest, which is making its way to the centre of the province, is going to continue to march on. We are a research-based organization, and there is more evidence supporting the CDC findings of how important it is that, as a society, we all put a mask on."
The research that Zambory cites suggests that the appropriate use of masks in public spaces could result in bringing virus transmission under control in six to eight weeks.
The union membership had made a commitment to be vocal about the implementation of mask policies if it saw the number of cases rise significantly following the government’s reopening plans. The union’s call to the government and SHA officials is following through on that promise, says Zambory.
"We are concerned that people are getting a little too comfortable and loosening up a bit too much," explained Zambory. "The mask is the biggest tool in the toolbox. The others are the continual washing of hands, the use of hand sanitizer, staying home if you are not feeling well, and going out only when necessary."