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Masks, different opinions and controversy

TORONTO – Masks yes or masks no? After the easing of restrictions in Ontario no longer require masks in most facilities, the controversy goes crazy. On the one hand there are those who cannot do without the protection guaranteed by masks, on the other hand those who could not wait to get rid of them, and to wear them, now that the government has removed the obligation, do not want to hear about them. And so while Uber Canada will no longer require customers to use them starting Friday, Toronto-based taxi company Beck Taxi has decided to continue to impose their use. 

But “wearing masks is not mandatory but it is recommended to continue using them” that doctors and epidemiologists on the front line continue to repeat as a mantra does nothing but create further confusion. The same premier of the province Doug Ford announced with evident satisfaction that in the province the obligation to wear a mask was over and then take a half step back. “There is no longer an obligation but wearing them will certainly not hurt,” he said. In fact, masks continue to be mandatory in various high-risk settings, including hospitals, long-term care homes and public transport.

An Uber spokesperson, after stating that customers – except in Quebec – from April 22 will not be required to cover their faces, said that “drivers will still be able to request that customers wear masks and if they refuse they can cancel the ride for safety reasons”. “We still strongly recommend wearing a mask taking into account personal risk factors and infection rates in the area,” the spokesperson said.

It was May 2020, the pandemic had begun about two months ago, when Uber requested the use of this protective equipment to all passengers but now that many provinces have removed its mandatory, the ridesharing company has decided to align itself with the unwritten rule according to which “the mask is not a must but it is good to use it”. Meanwhile, while Uber has decided to no longer impose masks, competitor Lyft has said that on its cars the mask continues to be mandatory.

“Better safe than sorry” is a way of saying that also fits Beck Taxi, Toronto’s largest taxi company, which has decided to require that all passengers and taxi drivers wear masks, at least for the moment. “We know that many people, including the most fragile ones, rely on the safety of rental services like ours and drivers ask us to make informed decisions when it comes to mask policies – the company tweeted – we will continue to require masks, since we know that the inside of a vehicle does not allow a distance of two meters between driver and travelers, which makes it a high-risk environment. We see this as a smart health and safety policy and a policy that hopefully lends itself to keeping our economy open to business.”

Meanwhile, the rapidly rising infections in the province – yesterday, for example, exceeded 1,600 – only feed the fear of contracting Covid-19 leading to extreme reactions. An investigation by the Toronto District School Board is underway into an email sent by Northern Secondary School teacher Sandy Gladstone to the students.

Despite the TDSB, while inviting children to wear masks to limit the spread of Covid-19 reiterated that this is a “personal decision”, Gladstone is of a completely different opinion. “You will be admitted to class only after wearing a mask that will be kept, on the nose, for as long as you are with me – wrote Gladstone – you will also continue to keep your backpacks down, wash your hands with soap, follow protocol”.

Gladstone added: “If you oppose this request, and if you have decided to infect me and others, maybe even kill me, no problem… you will be sitting in the corridor, outside our classroom (not wandering)… I will pass on to you tasks to be done.” The board, wasted no time in distancing itself and starting an investigation.

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