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Special meeting called this week on Niagara-wide mask requirement

Thorold city council also to discuss making masks mandatory
(Stock photo)

Face masks at indoor establishments might become mandatory across all of Niagara after a special regional council meeting this Wednesday.

Several mayors have recently expressed support for making masks a requirement in Niagara in efforts to combat the virus from spreading through interactions in the recently reopened economy.

Thorold Mayor Terry Ugulini hinted at the idea of a region-wide mask policy in an interview with Thorold News last week, and said he would also bring the issue to the Thorold council floor this Tuesday.

“Anything we can do to prevent a second wave and help businesses stay open, I am in favor of,” said Ugulini.

This Tuesday a bylaw making masks mandatory indoors will take effect in Toronto.

Cases of COVID-19 have been continuously dropping for several months and have largely been contained to health-care facility outbreaks, primarily in Niagara Falls and Welland.

Recent data from Niagara Public Health show that 38.5 percent of those infected with COVID-19 did not know where they contracted the deadly virus.

Health officials have been repeating the message of social distancing, frequent hand washing and continued vigilance as the region reopened to Stage 2.

Public Healths acting medical officer, Dr. Mustafa Hirji told Thorold News earlier this week that individual municipalities need to decide on the issue, and he is not in support of the region making masks becoming mandatory at the moment due to the absence of high-quality studies on the topic.

“If you are going to restrict people's freedom, you need solid evidence for it,” said Hirji, while pointing out that there are likely benefits to wearing a mask in tight spaces where social distancing can’t be maintained.

As of Sunday evening, 764 cases had been found since March 13.

61 Niagara residents have passed away after contracting the virus.