Business representatives in Waterloo Region are calling on the local and provincial governments to change tactics when it comes to mask recommendations.
The current guidance is to wear a face covering, the efficacy of which can vary depending on just what is covering your face.
"When you look at the efficacy levels of [single-layer cloth masks], they have an efficacy level or efficiency level between two and five per cent. Virtually, you aren't wearing a mask," said Greg Durocher, President and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. "You can increase it up to a three-layer cloth mask, and your efficiency level goes to about 30, 38 per cent. A simple, medical grade, AFPM-approved level three mask has 55 per cent efficiency. So, that's much much much better than even a three-layer cloth mask."
Durocher is joined by Ian McLean, President and CEO of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and Tony LaMantia, President and CEO of Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation in an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Regional Chair Karen Redman. The organizations represent nearly 90,000 workers and 3,500 businesses of every type and size across the region.
The goal of the plea is to avoid another lockdown, which Hamilton will have to endure starting this week. London has moved into the Red Zone as of Tuesday, an area where Waterloo Region has sat firmly since the province-wide lockdown ended.
"We opened up the economy back in February. Things don't seem to be getting better, in fact, things are getting worse," said Durocher, noting the circulation of variants as an added factor and a slow vaccine response. "If we don't do anything different to reopen the economy, then we're simply reinforcing the definition of insanity in doing the exact same thing over and over and over again, and expecting a different result."
The simplicity of the call to action, they believe, will be easy to implement and easy for the public to understand. Medical grade masks are easily found in most grocery or drug stores.
"Lockdowns are not a measure, in spite of the fact that governments use them as a measure," said Durocher. "Lockdowns are an admittance to failure. Basically, what they're saying is, "All the things we told you to do aren't working, so we're going to have to shut down the economy.'"
570 NEWS has reached out to Karen Redman and the Premier's Office for comment.