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The great mask debate: Regional officials continue to strongly recommend them

Public Health is launching a social media campaign to promote face masks and coverings, but is not making them mandatory
Photo: Disposable face masks/Shutterstock

It's been a controversial topic over the past week - should masks be mandatory in Waterloo Region?

It comes after Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health issued an order requiring face masks or coverings at commercial establishments, and on Guelph Transit.

That jurisdiction has a much smaller COVID-19 caseload than us, so many have been calling for the Region of Waterloo to enact a similar order.

Officials are responding to these concerns by sticking to their guns.

In Friday's COVID-19 update, Acting Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Julie Emili said, "There's been much comment on the subject of masks over the past week."

Dr. Emili continues to strongly recommend that masks be worn in all indoor settings and on public transit - unless there is a medical or age-based exception.

While there's no indication a mandatory mask order will be issued any time soon, Public Health is launching a new initiative to promote their use.

"Today, we are launching a social media campaign to reinforce the importance of wearing masks and to make wearing a mask the new normal."

It's called #FaceMaskFriday and it encourages residents to share photos of themselves donning a mask or covering.

"This is a complex subject, and there is no simple answer. As always, we truly appreciate the comments and feedback that we have received this past week. We understand your concerns and we will continue to evaluate the situation in our region," said Dr. Emili.

She added Region of Waterloo Public Health wants to hear from business owners about how they can work together to increase the number of people wearing non-medical masks.

"We continue to have [a] collective responsibility to do what we can to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region. We will share this responsibility for some time to come ... but by making the right decisions, we will protect the health of our friends and family, and we will help ensure that our economy can contribute to the reopening."

To read the latest messaging from Region of Waterloo on face masks and coverings, click here

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