Mayor Drew, in her recent message, stated “if we all wear a mask, we can help to reduce the spread of Covid-19.” This claim is not evidence-based. No scientific randomized controlled trial on the effective use of a non-medical mask or face covering has been conducted during the covid-19 crisis. Despite the mandate to wear a mask, in his letter to Commercial Establishments in Durham region, the Medical Health Officer included a number of exemptions for those who are unable to wear a mask. They include, but are not limited to, children under the age of two, a person unable to remove a mask without assistance, and for medical or religious reasons. The letter also states, “For greater clarity, there is not a need for a business to turn away the customer to achieve the best effort standard” as cited on durham.ca. This information has been poorly communicated to the public and some commercial establishments are unaware of the exceptions. Service cannot be denied to persons not wearing a mask. Scugog has a large senior population and many in the community may live with co-morbidities or other health issues that could be exacerbated from wearing a mask or face covering. The vulnerable in society must always be protected but for the majority, a healthy immune system is far more efficient in combating disease than a mask. In healthcare, one size does not fit all and if people cannot wear a mask, they too must be respected.
Sincerely Sharon Dodgson-Smith Scugog