Letter: Make wearing masks mandatory in public places

Editor:

I have voiced my opinion regarding mandatory usage of masks in public places to our public health officer, to our minister of health, to our premier and to Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone.

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I am concerned that our governments, both federal and provincial, seem to, in many ways, mirror policy with our neighbours to the south.

It would be encouraging to see our leaders be courageous enough to make sensible, effective decisions for the public safety of British Columbians, decisions based on scientific data and not politics.

Why is policy in B.C. not more like that in South Korea, where the government mandates mask-wearing in public places for the entire country?

South Korea is considered to be one of the more successful countries in the world in managing the COVID-19 crisis.

Mandatory usage in public places would be far more effective in our country than in the United States.

Canadians generally tend to be able to separate political ideology from public responsibility. Acceptance here would be greater and better preemptive measures will only improve the collective prognosis.

Our governments need to be politically courageous and proactive. It is very clear that our geographic proximity to the U.S. and trans-border commerce is a biological vulnerability to the virus, leading to case increases in B.C. and Canada.

Masks are scientifically proven to reduce transmission. Many people in our community wear masks already, but there is a significant number of people who won’t if they are not legally mandated to do so.

Simply put, our communities will not be adequately protected if the current voluntary philosophy is permitted to continue as is. We need to get ahead of the issue, not react to it, as it perpetuates, which seems to be the “easy” direction our leaders in government and health care choose to follow.

I am skeptical that those in government actually bother to engage citizens in dialogue unless their feet are held to the fire.

I have not received any response to my query from any of the aforementioned leaders.

Daniel Byrne

Kamloops

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