Saskatchewan Examiner

Thursday, February 29, 2024

A city committee in Saskatoon has recommended that the mask requirement be kept

A city committee in Saskatoon advises that the mask mandate be maintained

Key Takeaways:

  • A Saskatoon city committee decided to suggest that masks remain mandatory on transit after the provincial government rescinded the public health order requiring them at the end of the month.
  • According to the city report, 99 percent of motorcyclists have observed the mask regulation since March 2020, with only 15 serious accidents.

After the provincial govt lifted the public health order requiring masks at the end of the month, a Saskatoon municipal committee agreed to propose that masks remain obligatory on transit.

After a debate on how to best keep transit customers safe from the virus that causes COVID-19 while emphasizing the security of bus operators, who might have been accountable for enforcing the regulations, eight councilors approved the move during the governance and priorities meeting on Tuesday morning.

It originates from a report that councilors sought from the administration at the start of the month during a special council meeting.

Also read: COVID-19 limits have been lifted, which is both exciting and concerning

The report outlined four options: hiring security personnel to enforce mask-wearing on all buses, enforcing mask-wearing on high-issue routes, enforcing mask-wearing at terminals, or maintaining the status quo, which is to get a policy requiring riders to wear masks but take no enforcement measures.

According to the study, the first option was anticipated to cost approximately $680,000. Other programs had lower expenses, and the status quo did not necessitate more spending.

Mayor Charlie Clark submitted a motion backing the fourth alternative, arguing that it was important to “re-iterate that masks are required.” Those who don’t have masks are given them. We persist in doing what we’ve been doing, but we don’t move to the enforcement level.”

According to the city report, 99 percent of riders have followed the mask rule, with only 15 bad incidents since March 2020.

A city committee in Saskatoon advises that the mask mandate be maintained
A city committee in Saskatoon advises that the mask mandate be maintained. Image from CBC

“To date, there have been no physical assaults related to masking,” it says.

Councilors say that the number of instances would likely grow if the provincial health directive is lifted.

Coun. David Kirton feels there might be many more incidents putting drivers in danger.

“Is it safer for (transit passengers) to protect themselves on the bus with their masks rather than having masks recommended on the bus?” Is it safer to dictate in the face of the danger of violence and confrontations?” he wondered.

“There will be a societal separation (between those who will wear masks and those who will not) – there already is a societal division.” And it’s quite likely to express itself on these buses, which concerns me greatly.”

The issue will be brought before the city council at the end of the month, including a motion from Coun. Hilary Gough for municipal staff to continue to monitor mask compliance and negative situations on buses and to report back regularly.

Source: Global News

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