Motion for regular reports on mask use defeated at Niagara Region Public Health Committee

CKTB - NEWS - Rigby at Public Health Meeting October 13 2020

A push for more information on mask use during the pandemic was defeated at the Region's Public Health Committee.

St. Catharines Regional Councillor Tim Rigby brought forward the motion saying he wanted Public Health to provide regular reports including evidence from provincial, federal, and international health agencies.

While presenting his motion he said he didn't have an issue with the regional mandatory mask by-law but wanted to review the decision on a monthly basis.

The Committee voted it down with Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji saying providing a report every month would generate a lot of additional work for Public Health while they are already 'maxed out.'

"Staff are staying late every night doing work to respond to COVID-19, amassing large amounts of overtime, and so I feel this would be an additional stressor that would be very difficult for us to manage at this time." Hirji said. "I'm also worried that of course, this is now the fourth meeting I think where we have discussed the face covering by-law and if this comes back every meeting we are likely to see a bunch of delegations come every meeting and continue to have this discussion."

He also pointed out the decision was moot as the province has mandated the use of face coverings in public spaces across the province.

A few people wanted to speak to the committee before the decision was made, but the committee voted against hearing the late requests as many of the people had already spoken on the issue of masks during previous discussions.

Councillors Jeff Jordan, Barbara Butters,Tim Rigby, and Leanna Villella voted to hear from the delegates.

The region's mask by-law has been extended until April, but council can end it earlier if they choose to.

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