Manitoba should implement provincewide mask mandate: Winnipeg mayor – Winnipeg

Manitoba should implement provincewide mask mandate: Winnipeg mayor - Winnipeg

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says he would like to see a provincewide mask mandate as COVID-19 cases continue to steadily climb, particularly in the capital.

“We’re just seeing the numbers right now — they’re not going in the right direction in the province,” Bowman told reporters Tuesday.

“I think it could go a long way. I expect they’re considering that, and we’ll work with them collaboratively in due course.”

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The mayor’s comments come nearly one month after the city made masks mandatory in all city facilities and on public transit.

Bowman says although city hall has the power to implement a wider mask requirement through bylaws, he’d rather the province took the lead.

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“At this point, we’re not actively looking at it. It is something we’re deferring to the province of Manitoba,” Bowman said.

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“(A bylaw) would take some time to not only draft but to begin implementation. That’s why, with the numbers where they are right now as of today, Manitoba Health and the provincial government is best positioned to act in a time-sensitive way.

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“My preference would be for the level of government that’s responsible for health to lead.”

Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, was asked the previous day why masks have so far not been mandated in Winnipeg or across the province.

“They’re not being looked at as a restriction because our advice right now is to wear masks in indoor public places, and I think there’s a lot of uptake,” Roussin said Monday.

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“It’s becoming more and more normalized. There are some businesses that are requiring it; we do have mandates in certain places like in schools.

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“I think when we mandate things, then we base that on our indicators. We’re strongly messaging about masks right now, and I think that’s important. But we’ll mandate things under the Public Health Act when we have indicators to support that.”

However, the doctor has said repeatedly that nothing is off the table.

Bowman says he’s also seeing many more Manitobans wearing masks lately, but “the challenge right now is we’re seeing the numbers in the last few weeks here in Manitoba and in the city of Winnipeg going in the wrong direction.”

The number of active cases in Winnipeg has almost tripled to more than 280 since the start of September.

Twenty of Manitoba’s 24 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday were in the capital.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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