On Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told Canadians that as the warm summer months give way to fall and winter, they should prepare themselves for a return to masking.
Tam made her remarks alongside other masked federal health officials during a press conference to discuss the recent approval of new Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.
"You're all masking, which is lovely to see," a CTV reporter said. "Most government ministers are not now, most MPs are not, most people on the street are not masking; is there any specific guidance on that going forward at this point?"
"We hope people have developed the habit to be able to use masks as needed during the respiratory virus season," Tam replied, adding that they should be seen as protection against influenza and RSV as well.
"I do think now is the time to get your mask ready if you don't already have them," she declared.
Tam justified her and other officials' mask-wearing by noting that there had been an uptick in "Covid-19 indicators" in their area.
Masking has been making a comeback in Canada as of late, however, only hospitals have instituted mandates. In other settings, they remain optional.
"All schools and workplaces within the district are mask-friendly environments," a Vancouver school board spokesperson recently told Global News. "As per current guidelines, the decision to wear a mask is a personal one, based on individual and family preference."
The spokesperson added that guidelines could change at any time.
Mask mandates were unpopular the first time around, and caused division within society alongside protests, many of which are ongoing.
With that in mind, some have suggested that the government will not try to institute blanket requirements on the public, and instead let individual communities decide what suits them best.
"I don't think I see an appetite at many levels to bring in mask mandates, other than we would have them in place at a hospital setting, have them in place in nursing homes," infectious disease expert Dr. Gerald Evans told Global News. "That's where some of the impacts of COVID can be so huge."
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