Bringing back masks in Windsor-Essex not 'unreasonable', says infectious disease expert

Infectious disease expert Dr. Dale Kalina agrees with the local acting medical officer of health and his decision to write a letter to Ontario’s top doctor asking for a temporary province-wide mask mandate.

“A mandate to wear a mask is like a mandate to wear a coat in winter. It just makes good sense,” said Dr. Kalina.

He was responding to a decision by Dr. Shanker Nesathurai to write a letter to Dr. Kieran Moore, the chief medical officer of health for Ontario. Two other medical officers of health, from Niagara and Peterborough, wrote the letter with Dr. Nesathurai.

Here is a copy of the letter.

It reads in part: ”Like you, we had hoped that as masking and other protections ceased to be requirements, that we would be able to get through this wave without much suffering or long-term disruption. Unfortunately, this does not seem to have played out as we had hoped.”

The three doctors are asking Dr. Moore to “build” on his recent decision to extend the mask mandate in high-risk settings.

“Certain regions need the added help and then therefore it is important,” said Dr. Kalina. “Asking everybody to wear a mask indoors is very different from shutting down businesses and restricting access to events and funerals etc.”

“I don’t think it's a great idea but I don't think it's the worst idea (either),” said Nick Mountryvong, owner of Kona Sushi in LaSalle.

Mountryvong says he continued to offer curbside pick-up even when his dining room reopened, for customers who were still worried about the spread of COVID-19.

He believes customers should be allowed to choose for themselves whether to put on a mask.

As for his staff, he is hopeful the mask mandate does not come back.

“Once they throw that mask on in the summertime and they're working in that (humidity), it gets really uncomfortable for them and I hate to see that happening to them again this year,” said Mountryvong.