As more communities make wearing masks in indoor public spaces mandatory, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is weighing its options.
But one local hospital president and CEO is taking matters into his own hands.
When he leaves his post at Orillia's Soldiers Memorial Hospital every night, Carmine Stumpo pulls up a seat behind his mother's sewing machine. He sees stitching masks as a way to do something positive for the community at a critical juncture in the battle against COVID-19.
"We have a really good window of opportunity to prevent the severity and duration of next wave of the pandemic, and I think we need to do everything we can, and that includes wearing masks," Stumpo said.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is consulting municipalities before issuing any orders.
Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman will support the decision of public health experts but says creating a mandatory mask bylaw could be confusing and difficult to enforce.
"Ultimately, my view on this is we want to do what is going to be most effective in supporting the goal here, which is stopping the spread," Lehman said.
Mandatory masks or not, Stumpo says it's up to people in the community to look after each other.
"We would suggest if you are going into a public space, just put on a mask, and that's the safest approach for you and the safest approach for others."