FUREY: Ending capacity limits great but Ontario must revise rigid mask rules next

Article content

It’s happened to me a few times: A friend or neighbour travels outside of Ontario — to, say, B.C., the United States or the U.K. — and they come back wide-eyed and amazed.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

“They’re doing it so differently over there!” they say, remarking on how the COVID-19 protocols in other jurisdictions are much more relaxed than the ones in Ontario, and they’re none the worse off for it.

All I do is chuckle. Because it’s rather tragicomic. Ontario has been operating in such an information silo. We pride ourselves on being supposedly cosmopolitan and yet so many people in this province have become downright ignorant about the way things are done elsewhere.

That’s why the news that the Ontario government is planning to scrap capacity limits is both big news to be applauded and a whole lot of nothing.

Big news because this will be considered a major step forward by the remaining COVID busybodies who still aren’t psychologically ready to learn to live with the virus.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

In another sense, it’s just a baby step. When Chef Michael Hunter points out how unfair it is that he can still only seat 22 people in his 45 seat restaurant while sports arenas can be packed to the rafters, he makes a good point. But many grocery stores and gyms don’t get close to hitting their 50% capacity limits as is, so this changes little.

One bigger step that we really need to talk about is rolling back mandatory mask rules. That’s the key thing those who return from abroad say: And they weren’t even wearing masks!

  1. Celina Blanchard, owner of Lambretta Pizzeria on Roncesvalles Ave., in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.

    ‘BEYOND COMPREHENSION’: Restaurants excluded as Ontario lifts capacity limits for larger venues

  2. Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health speaks during a press conference regarding COVID-19 at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

    Ontario doctors advised to shift back to in-person care over virtual

  3. A security guard checks for proof of vaccination at the entrance to a food court during phase one of Ontario's vaccine certification program in Toronto September 22, 2021.

    Ontario reportedly eyeing end to capacity limits for restaurants, gyms

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

In France you don’t need to wear a mask where their vaccine passport is in effect and in Germany kids don’t wear them in schools, to give just two examples.

The United Kingdom ended their entire mask mandate in July, explaining: “Lifting restrictions does not mean the risks from COVID-19 have disappeared, but at this new phase of the pandemic response we are moving to an approach that enables personal risk-based judgments.”

Huh. Personal judgment. Whodathunkit?

Yet the mask mandate has always stayed the same in Ontario and didn’t change a bit after the vaccine passport came into effect.

We’re at the point where in many situations mask wearing is just nonsensical and downright demoralizing.

Like going to the gym: The current rules are that vaccinated persons don’t need to mask while working out. But they need to wear it in the three seconds it takes to walk to another workout station or when they’re entering and exiting the facility.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

And why are we still wearing masks in grocery stores? The federal government’s COVID alert app was designed to only notify you of a positive contact if you were within six feet of a person for 15 minutes or longer. When does that ever happen in the grocery store? Pretty much never.

So if the government doesn’t believe you can really acquire COVID in a grocery store why, when most people are vaccinated at this point, should we still wear masks in such settings?

By the way, when mask mandates are dropped it doesn’t mean it’s suddenly against the rules to wear one. People are free to keep them on. It just means it’s no longer illegal to not wear one.

Unfortunately, the government has signaled there will be no revision to mask rules in the forthcoming changes. That’s a shame, because as many jurisdictions have proven — there are better options on hand.

    Advertisement

    Story continues below

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Share:

    Share on facebook
    Facebook
    Share on twitter
    Twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    LinkedIn
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world

    USA on the eve of white revenge

    MOSCOW, 30 Nov 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute. During the presidency of Donald Trump, so many rules and even taboos have been broken in the American establishment