Face masks are no longer required in City of Thompson-owned buildings and buses after council rescinded a resolution from last October at their Aug. 16 meeting.
“Because of the changes to the provincial health orders [that took effect Aug. 7] we’ve been instructed by the province that we should update our own resolutions,” said city manager Anthony McInnis.”That doesn’t preclude people from wearing masks. That’s a personal choice at this point now. It’s strongly recommended.”
The resolution was put in place last October near the beginning of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.
The vote to rescind it passed 4-1, with Coun. Les Ellsworth opposed.
“I am concerned the kind of message that it sends,” he said, noting the rise in cases linked to COVID-19 variants in other parts of the world and rising case numbers in other Canadian provinces. “Make sure that we are very very clear that any employee or certainly anyone from the public that comes into our facilities, that we’re OK with them wearing their masks and they’re not looked down upon for it.”
Coun. Duncan Wong said he was glad the requirement is no longer needed while Coun. Andre Proulx said he was excited about not wearing a mask.
“It’s not the signal that we’re done with the pandemic but it does indicate that we’ve made great progress,” said Coun. Braden McMurdo. “Hopefully this is a sign of where we’re heading permanently.”
Mayor Collen Smook said she still feels comfortable wearing a mask while out shopping and hopes that other people do too.
“If you’re comfortable wearing your mask, please wear your mask,” she said. “The north is doing a great job of being vaccinated and double vaccinated but there is expected a fourth wave into September, possibly here.”