Region 'looking really seriously' at mandatory masks on Grand River Transit
KITCHENER -- The Region of Waterloo is considering a slight change in its tune when it comes to mandatory masks.
While public health officials are not offering any new guidance on mandating masks and face coverings, the region says that transit is one area it may consider.
Region of Waterloo CAO Mike Murray says that the region is still encouraging people to wear masks when they can't maintain physical distancing.
He says that may include on Grand River Transit, which more people are using as more workplaces reopen.
"One of those areas where, as the number of transit customers increases, it will become increasingly challenging to maintain physical distancing is on Grand River Transit vehicles," he said during a Tuesday morning media briefing.
"So that is something that we're looking really seriously at: mandatory masks on transit."
Murray didn't commit to making masks mandatory for riders, but it wouldn't be a first in southern Ontario.
In Toronto and in Guelph, public transit riders must wear masks unless they meet a few select criteria.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has issued orders making masks mandatory in businesses in its area as well, something at least one local business would like to see done here, too.
While the region has been adamant about not being able to enforce the use of masks, Murray says that, with ridership increasing, it might be in everyone's best interest.
"That's something we're monitoring really, really carefully because we want to make sure we can continue to provide a safe environment for transit customers and our operators," he said Tuesday.
"If that requires the next step in making masks mandatory, then that may be something that we need to do."
There have been 1,257 positive cases in Waterloo Region, including 1,055 recoveries and 115 deaths.
Acting Medical Officer Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said Tuesday that the first wave is not over yet because the virus is still active in our region.