Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Chatham-Kent’s mask by-law remains unchanged

The mandatory mask by-law across Chatham-Kent will remain unchanged, after Council voted down two motions during their electronic meeting on Monday night, September 14, 2020.

After being directed on August 10, 2020, administration recommended some amendments to the by-law, which included requirements for physical distancing and the use of hand sanitizer. More details, here.

However, the Council vote on Monday night was split 50/50, which resulted in the proposed amendments not being approved.

Chatham Councillor Michael Bondy also brought forward a proposed amendment to the by-law, which was requesting that an exemption be added.

Bondy’s motion was requesting that a mask could be removed by people attending religious ceremonies, providing they were seated and could maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other people in attendance, not from their own household.

North Kent Councillor Joe Faas entered a friendly amendment to Bondy’s motion, stating that a mask must be worn during any singing at religious ceremonies.

However, Bondy’s motion was defeated, as only 39% of Council were in favour and 61% were opposed.

A staff report by Dave Taylor, manager of legal services, and Dr. April Rietdyk, general manager of community human services, indicated that there is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the use of masks as assisting in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Taylor and Dr. Rietdyk said in their report it is important to maintain the key public health message that frequent hand sanitization and physical distancing “are the most important tools” for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

The original amendments had been recommended by staff in consultation with Chatham-Kent’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby.

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