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Richmond considers mandatory masks in city-run, owned buildings

Last Updated Sep 10, 2020 at 1:18 pm PDT

FILE - A long-time Richmond councillor has proposed making it mandatory to wear maks inside all city buildings. (CITYNEWS/Tony Fera)
Summary

Long-time Richmond Coun. Bill McNulty is pushing to make wearing masks mandatory in city buildings

The motion would make Richmond the first Lower Mainland city with such a policy

One of the motivations behind his motion is not only to protect the public, but also workers

RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) — Long-time Richmond Coun. Bill McNulty is pushing to make wearing masks mandatory in buildings run and owned by the city, making it the first in the Lower Mainland to make such a move.

The motion he presented this week at council has been approved and now the idea is being looked at closely by staff to figure out how it would work.

If approved, McNulty hopes the policy would be implemented as soon as possible as B.C. continues to see a consistent spike in COVID-19 infections.

“I think it makes imminent sense. We’re hearing it from our experts, saying [there are] the benefits of wearing a mask in public and with each other, so I don’t know how you can go against this. This is isn’t the United States,” explains McNulty, who is also the chair of community safety in the city.

He doesn’t think the masks would be needed if you’re outside and far away from others not in your bubble.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s top doctor, has repeatedly been pressed on the proposal of making masks mandatory, a move that’s been followed in other major cities to control the spread of the virus.

Henry has consistently said she doesn’t think it’s necessary right now, but does encourage everyone to wear them.

“Right now, it’s by choice. I think if we’re going to be wearing masks that we have it across the board. We need to have a policy on masks given the situation that we have,” stresses McNulty.

One of the motivations behind his motion is not only to protect the public, but also workers.

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“Now that we’re trying to get things back to some sort of normalcy, it’s important that we take all precautions. The other thing is we want staff to feel safe with each other and I’ve heard from staff they’re not safe from each other,” McNulty said.

“Sometimes, we reward people for coming to work not feeling as well as they should be and interacting with people and I think we have to get over that. If you’re sick, you do stay home and if you do feel sick, you stay home without any punishment and it will look after all of us.”

Richmond council will meet on Sept. 14, when, McNulty says, the motion will be brought up again.

“I think what we need to do is to continue to heed the expertise of the sciences and follow direction of our health officer and others and continue to try and make our community and other communities as safe as possible.”

 

The City of Richmond has been an anomaly and a leading example for the rest of the region as it has the lowest recorded number of case numbers in the Lower Mainland throughout this region and has for months after taking COVID-19 precautions as early as January of this year.