Since March 15, 2020, the entire world has been faced with a deadly virus that has created an unprecedented level of economic, health and social challenges. The global pandemic is creating economic uncertainty, soaring debt and an increasing burden on our healthcare system.
“Masks are an important factor to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “For the Winter season, the Surrey Board of Trade urgently asks for clear messaging and leadership from municipalities and health authorities to mandate masks in public spaces. Further, when physical distancing is not possible, especially in closed spaces such as in shopping centres or any workplace, masks should be made mandatory and enforced for the duration of the Winter season.”
“The message needs to be: Masks are mandatory.”
“Let me be clear – we cannot afford to go into another economic lockdown. Everyone needs to do their part to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy so that our economy can recover. If we do not adhere to these restrictions, the burden on our health care system will become unsustainable, people will continue to lose their lives, businesses will be required to shutdown and jobs and businesses will disappear. The economy will go into a self-induced depression that could have been avoided through adherence to rules and proper behaviour. We are past a critical time to get serious and need immediate and dramatic action.”
The Surrey Board of Trade itself on November 9 updated their health and safety plan to mandate a mandatory mask policy for guests in their office. All businesses are required to review their health and safety plans to ensure strict adherence to protocols as issued by the Province of BC in conjunction with WorkSafeBC.
Any mask, no matter how good it is at catching droplets or how well it seals, will only have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, social distancing and physical distancing. Follow these mask etiquette guidelines:
· The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends mask made up of at least three layers—two layers of tightly-woven fabric such as cotton or linen, and a third, middle layer of a filter-type material, like a non-woven polypropylene fabric or a disposable filter
- Wash your hands before putting on your mask
- Don’t put the covering around your neck or up on your forehead
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. This is important to remember since many residents report that some mask wearers have their noses poking out, which effectively renders the efficacy of the mask useless
- Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- Don’t touch the face covering – if you do, wash your hands
While recent announcements with respect to vaccine research and its effectiveness is extremely encouraging and provides hope, these vaccines remain many months away, as does complete societal protection. As such, for the foreseeable future, we are going to have to live with the disease in our midst and develop ways to manage living with it, while maintaining our health and the economy. Protracted lockdowns are unsustainable, both socially and economically. We must move from simply reacting to the disease to managing it. We urgently need a coherent COVID-19 management strategy that is based on solid data and sound science. The goal of an effective COVID management strategy should be to allow Canadians to safely resume more normal lives as rapidly as possible. In addition to being data-driven, the strategy should follow the risk-management approach that has worked well in dealing with other threats: target your resources at the areas of highest risk and expect broad collaboration from governments, businesses and individual citizens, and build resiliency so we can bounce back quickly when problems occur. For now, mandatory masks in public spaces are a part of that risk-management approach. For now, mandatory masks in businesses where physical distancing is not possible is the right approach. Enforcement can only be effective by watching one another, respectfully speaking to each other and encouraging good behaviour.
To report an urgent situation in Surrey where an individual or business is suspected of being in non-compliant with Public Health Orders, please report the violation by contacting Surrey Bylaw Call Centre at 604-591-4370 or the Surrey RCMP non-emergency line at 604-599-0502. Less urgent violations can be reported online using the Report a Problem tool: https://my. surrey.ca/report-a-problem/ home
For more information on masks visit http://www.bccdc.ca/health- info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/prevention-risks/masks