Timmins considering implementing a mandatory mask bylaw
As a result of new COVID-19 cases occurring in Timmins and elsewhere, the city is considering making it mandatory for people to wear face masks within indoor public spaces.
Mayor George Pirie brought the matter up during a council meeting on June 30. He and councillors now want public feedback.
"Masks aren't the solution totally," said Pirie.
"Social distancing is. Six foot separation is the best thing you could possibly do but masks certainly help."
Some councillors say they've already been inundated with feedback.
Ward 1 Counc. Rock Whissel said he created a Facebook poll. "I've got over three-thousand responses in twenty-four hours."
He said this gives people an opportunity to give their opinions.
"We're open to discussions; we're open to different scenarios. What we're worried about is at what point do we have to impose masks and is it easier imposing masks or is it closing down businesses," he said.
Ward 5 Counc. Noella Rinaldo said she prefers receiving input in an email.
"We've had a lot of emails which has been great to get the public engaged like that. There is some surveys there. I find the emails a lot more effective because you do have names and people's addresses on there to respond to," she explained.
Both Rinaldo and Whissel say the varied suggestions they receive will help council makes a decision that makes sense for the Timmins.
Some people who did not want to share their names, think masks encourage more touching of the face, thus making them pointless while others think masks are important.
"It's not a matter of if you're going to have it, it's a matter of when you're going to get it. So it's one way to prevent it," said Timmins resident Craig MacGregor
"We've been through enough now, we've got to work at getting out of this as soon as we can so I agree with it," added Fern Carriere, another Timmins resident.
And, former Timmins councillor and resident, Veronica Farrell, said she understands some people have issues with their breathing but she would hope "there's a way that some type of mask could be made for them so they'll be able to wear it."
Mayor Pirie has asked the city clerk to submit a report at the next council meeting, scheduled for July 14, which will also take into account advice from health officials.
Pirie said he's especially concerned about a second wave of COVID-19 and the federal government running out of relief funding to help people or worse, a depression.