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City committee to study report recommending masks on Saskatoon Transit

Click to play video 'Saskatoon city council to discuss masks on transit' Saskatoon city council to discuss masks on transit
Saskatoon's city council is scheduled to debate requiring masks for everyone on public transit. – Aug 23, 2020

A report heading to a Saskatoon city committee Monday is recommending non-medical masks be worn by transit riders.

It would go into effect on Sept. 1 if approved by city council.

Read more: Mayor Charlie Clark believes Saskatoon may need to pursue a mask policy

“At a local level, we continue to follow recommendations from the government of Canada and the provincial government to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission using the hierarchy of controls,” said Pamela Goulden-McLeod, director of Saskatoon’s Emergency Management Organization.

“The hierarchy suggests that non-medical face coverings should be used when other controls such as staying at home, physical distancing, installing barriers, and altering services cannot be achieved.”

Administration said the measure would allow Saskatoon Transit to safely operate full-seated loads and meet demand on all fixed-route and Access Transit buses.

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Both the cities of Regina and Prince Albert have made masking wearing mandatory on its transit systems as of Aug. 31.

Read more: Saskatchewan cities requiring masks to ride public transit

The report is also recommending that people should wear non-medical face masks when accessing indoor city-operated facilities and services, but it is not advising mandatory use.

“The health and well-being of our employees and residents continues to be our priority in putting these recommendations forward,” Goulden-McLeod said.

“By following the recommended safety precautions, and wearing a non-medical face mask indoors, we can continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and protect the health of our family, friends and neighbours.”

Administration said if the measures are approved, staff will focus on education, not enforcement, of the use of non-medical face coverings as an additional COVID-19 safety precaution.

City officials said they will also follow the province’s lead if the provincial government provides direction related to mask use by the public.

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