Masks to be required in Pt. Edward

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Alex Kurial/Local Journalism Initiative

Point Edward became the fourth Lambton County municipality to mandate the wearing of masks indoors.

Mayor Bev Hand broke the tie in favor of a mask bylaw after a deadlocked vote. Councillors Larry Gordon – who brought forward the motion – and Tim Mondoux were in favor of the bylaw, while Deputy Mayor Greg Grimes and Councillor Paul Burgess were opposed. 

“Health authorities tell us that mask wearing is a central action toward the goal of keeping our residents and families safer by reducing virus transmission,” says Gordon. 

Gordon says everyone in Point Edward has done a good job taking preventative measures, but that it is time to go even further. 

“Due to changing circumstances, information and knowledge, I now believe it’s time to send a stronger message,” says Gordon. “Let there be no question and no confusion that Point Edward is not a mask free zone. This virus knows no boundaries.”

Deputy Mayor Grimes disagreed though, saying he believed municipalities should listen to their local health authorities. Lambton County’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade has continuously stated that he recommends the wearing of masks, but will not make them mandatory.

“We listen to these experts daily and heeded their advice. None of us on this council are medical experts and have no experience in infection and disease control,” says Grimes. “In my opinion, voting yes to this village bylaw is like a vote of non-confidence in Dr. Ranade and the professionals at Lambton Public Health.”

In the end, Hand referenced the upcoming school year, and a possible second wave of the virus in the fall, while making her decision. “If the children are wearing masks to go to school, I feel that we in the public should be wearing masks to support them,” says Hand. 

“I look at this as a short term measure of protection. It’s one more act to try and do everything that we can to mitigate what we might be facing in the fall,” the mayor says.

The bylaw will go into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 25. The fine for non-compliance will be $1,000.