This week Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health Unit issued an “order”.
I have had a challenge accepting this order, 3 months in when our numbers have continued to decline. There are presently 15 Covid-19 cases in Wellington County. Yet this order was issued making it mandatory to wear a face mask in any “commercial establishment”. I called public health to get further clarification on this order as it stated everyone within the establishment must wear masks at all times.
I received a phone call back, thankfully. I asked about having to wear masks, everyone, all day if in a commercial establishment. He told me that was correct. I ask him about my own specific situation where 6 of us worked in the building, all more than 6 feet apart, he said yes we would all have to wear masks.
Businesses were also told if they did not follow this new order they could face a $5,000 fine PER day for not complying. I asked about this, he told me it would be handled like any by-law someone would have to make a complaint.
I asked about people with breathing issues, anxiety, being claustrophobic, and any other health issue that a mask would present challenges for. I was told they did not have to wear a mask and the county hoped it wouldn’t cause any altercations at businesses. I asked him what people needed to “prove” they didn’t have to wear anything. He told me nothing. They did not have to prove to anyone because their health is their own private business.
Yet the fear that has been pushed on people IS having customers turned away.
I have seen over the course of the past 3 months many people wearing masks and more not. It used to be a personal choice. With socially distancing required, completely understandable. Actually it made grocery shopping so much more enjoyable. Having time to pack my groceries vs another order coming down and feeling very rushed. My only complaint about the hygiene requirements put on businesses is the massive amounts of bleach and chemical cleaners being used. By the time I pack my groceries, my eyes are burning. I feel for the teens and adults working in these situations and breathing that in.
I asked the man from public health if he was wearing a mask, because it didnt sound like it. He told me he wasn’t, because their office was exempt, they could all socially distance. I reminded him of my previous question, about our office, that we all were more than 6 feet away. He said that didn’t matter, we would have to follow the rules in the order or face a potential $5,000 fine.
I politely thanked him for calling and advised I would need to end the phone call.
Thursday the order was updated to say that “employee only” areas where you could socially distance would not be required to wear masks.
A day later they make this switch. Makes sense, we have been working the entire 3 months and are all healthy, thankfully.
Friday they updated the order again with more FAQ. To include the places where you do not need to wear a mask… ironically a good portion of the list are government run… interesting and does not make sense!
Yet Ontario Public Health stated that masks were not effective outside of a non-healthcare setting. See key point 1st bullet point. I asked the man from public health who I spoke with about this and he said he couldn’t comment.
We will continue supporting our local stores because our community needs us right now. I purposely did my running around on Thursday at lunch and after work.
I personally do not like this “order”. We have been adhering to the socially distancing in stores, only going when we need to, shopping local (so important). Having masks now mandated will give people a false sense of safety and many masks I have seen being worn in the past couple days aren’t being worn “properly” or are being fiddled with while being worn. Given what Ontario Public Health put out, as a recommendation, but that it’s not beneficial in non-healthcare settings, makes sense. If you choose to wear one, that’s your choice, if you don’t and still socially distance, also your choice. Threatening businesses with a significant fine of $5,000 per day isn’t fair at all, especially now. Its putting businesses in a very tough position when in my opinion, our businesses around here have been doing an awesome job at limiting customers, hand washing/sanitizer, encouraging socially distancing.
All of which has increased costs for businesses as well. I mentioned this to the man from public health. He didn’t feel businesses should be experiencing any “increased costs” for meeting the government requirements?! Seriously?! Many of the businesses have to have a dedicated person or people at the doors. Additional PPE for employees and customers.
My other genuine concern, that I truly feel in my heart is being a faceless society. No more smiling faces with everyone in masks.
This honestly makes me sad. We have been doing well for 3 months to keep numbers low, majority using common sense, working together as a community. Many say this is the “new norm” which I honestly hope not. Yes our health is important but so is our mental health, going out and seeing people, smiling, chatting that is part of any community. I truly hope this is not our new “norm” and genuinely worry it could become that way if everyone just goes along because the government says so?! Remember when you were a child, children question EVERYTHING! It’s how they learn. It’s how everyone learns. Many adults stop asking questions, just go with the flow, do not want to “rock the boat” or question the narrative.
Do we not have a right as citizens living in this free country to voice our opinions, expect answers and facts. We totally do. Especially with how many times the WHO and CDC have changed their stances on Covid-19, how its spread, if you can get it from hard surfaces, which was changed after 2 months of pushing massive fear into people.
Grey county has recommended, KW I read has recommended and doesn’t feel it’s fair to threaten fines. I worry this will hurt our local businesses even more and could potentially hurt people’s mental and physical health while also creating alot of unnecessary garbage. Yes there are reusable masks but if they arent washed after every single use, they are contaminated. Same with touching your mask while wearing it. I agree with previous comments, false sense of security.
If we had massively high numbers here, perhaps I may feel differently, but we do not thank God. We have been working, thankfully, and shopping in our community the past 3 months and thankfully are healthy. The first month, honestly took a tole on my mental health. Going into stores and seeing so many masks, gloves, no one talking to each other, it was pure fear. As an empath I feel this fearful energy and it was too much.
I would love to hear the government supporting people in healthier living options/suggestions. Pushing masks, bleaching everything numerous times and hand sanitizer can have negative effects on our health.
There has been SO much judgment over the past few days. People turning against each other for their OPINION. Which everyone is entitled to. Feeling like if you do not agree with what the government says you have no opinion. It’s been horribly negative. That if people do not or can not wear a mask that theybare choosing to put other people at risk, that they are selfish, and feel entitled.
I for some reason, feel like I am preaching when I speak of my health. However that’s my real life experience, which I transformed myself. I am grateful for what the medical system in Canada is able to do for us, when needed. It’s also SO important, now more than ever to advocate for our own health and literally take that into our own hands. The reality is, the government pushes things through and can later retract, or not, but that’s ok?! Many products being sold are detrimental to our health, I know this because I experienced this. This is exactly why I am PROUD to question. Why I know I MUST question. Had I previously just listened to what I was being told, my health would still be at risk, probably worse than ever.
I literally took a chance and stepped into my own journey. It’s an individual choice everyone must make. We have even shifted our parenting style as well.
Lean in and be ok with questioning. Anyone who judges you or speaks negative of you for doing, that’s their own internal battle they must face on their own. Focus on you, stay in your own lane. It can be lonely at times, but are you here to please everyone else!? No!!! we must take care of and love ourselves first!