Late last month, Lethbridge city council made masks mandatory in public areas of city-owned facilities and on city transit. This was a great first step in order to help keep the community safe in light of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the first two recorded deaths from the disease in the city. Masks are a simple way to help keep our neighbours safe; especially in instances where physical distancing is not possible.
Before the council decision, already many local residents had taken it on themselves to mask up when heading out to local stores or public areas, setting a positive example for others to follow. It is hoped this practice will continue to spread throughout the community in a positive way without having any public shaming associated with it. Masking is an individual choice for the time being, and one we wish to encourage everyone to willingly make wherever possible for the sake of their own health, and that of others.
Lethbridge city council along with Taber area councils may eventually follow suit as other jurisdictions in Alberta and make masking mandatory throughout all public areas, depending on whether or not COVID cases continue their recent steady rise. If this comes to pass, it will be no different than other changes in habits many of us have already undertaken to help keep ourselves and our loved ones safe as this pandemic continues.
For example, most of us now respect physical distancing. Most of us are limiting our excursions into public areas of the community. Many of us continue to work from home and meet virtually with our colleagues. Most of us wash our hands and sanitize them on a regular basis.
Wearing a mask is just the next step we may be asked to take to bring this virus to heel.
In the meantime, we would like to encourage everyone to be socially aware, and to keep their health and safety in mind. Just because the economy is open and the summer weather is here does not mean we should ignore public health orders on limiting public gatherings or maintaining appropriate physical distancing.
As Premier Kenney said last week to those choosing to flout these public health orders, and those who may be contributing to the spread of the disease by doing so, “Knock it off.”
This editorial originated in the Lethbridge Herald