'Nobody wants to go back into lockdown': Mayor pushes for mask use in Saskatoon
SASKATOON -- Saskatoon’s mayor is the latest civic leader in the province to recommend people wear a mask while out in public.
“My goal is to keep our community safe, keep our economy going and have the rules as clear and consistent as possible,” Mayor Charlie Clark said.
Clark’s comments come after Regina’s mayor, Michael Fougere, announced Thursday morning that he wants people to wear masks when out in public due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the city over the last few days.
With school set to return in a few weeks and anxiety over a potential second wave, Clark said masks could be helpful in controlling the spread of the disease.
“Nobody wants to go back into lockdown. Nobody wants to see more people get sick in our community and so, more and more people are identifying that masks are one way that we can prevent that likelihood from happening,” he said.
He said while the province may not opt to mandate face coverings, cities should consider it.
“I’m getting more comfortable with the idea that we might need to do it on our own if the province doesn’t. But my preference is that we work with the province,” Clark said.
He added that even if masks are made mandatory in Saskatoon, the goal wouldn’t be to punish people who don’t abide, but to educate people about the benefits of wearing masks.
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“The more people get used to it, the less awkward it feels, the less political it becomes, and it’s just about caring for that person who’s working in the store or for that person you’re passing, the elderly and vulnerable people in our community with immunocompromised systems,” Clark said.
While there are no official plans to mandate face coverings across the city, Clark said council will discuss whether face masks should be required for people using transit, accessing civic buildings, and in public spaces.
The council meeting is set for Aug. 24.