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As Quebec hastily ditches COVID restrictions I will push for Côte Saint-Luc to maintain mask mandates in our buildings

It is quite a shame that the CAQ Quebec government and the supposedly independent Director of Public Health Dr. Luc Boileau are rushing to make us believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.

According to Premier François Legault, Health Minister Christian Dubé and Dr. Boileau, the vaccine passport is no longer necessary. Entertainment venues and restaurants can return to full capacity. Daily COVID case counts basically no longer exist. You think you have COVID? Take a rapid test. Masks are also set to go by mid-April, to me the biggest mistake of them all.

Mask1
I feel more comfortable seeing others wearing masks in stores.

COVID-19 and the Omicron variant have not disappeared. COVID remains a pandemic, not endemic. What was the rush to remove masks of students on March 7, just days after many returned from holidays outside of the country? I know more people with COVID now than I have in the last two years.

Well, there is a Quebec election in October and Legault is worried. Sure, polls show that he should win a majority. But the fledgling Conservatives are making a dent in his base in Quebec City and do not count the Liberals out just yet. The Freedom Convoys made a lot of noise and provincial politicians gave in to their demands.

I feel sad and worried to see the mask mandate come to an end. For the past two years wearing a mask at a mall, grocery store or at work gave me true sense of comfort. There is a reason why nobody got the flu. Family members of mine, prone to bronchitis, bad colds and the like, have never been healthier. If someone coughs in the fruits and vegetable aisle, odds are when and if they sneeze on the zucchini, we are well protected.

Would I feel safer at the Bell Centre next to non-vaccinated maskless individuals? Absolutely not!  Only time will tell to see whether this roll of the dice by the government is a giant mistake.

In Côte Saint-Luc we were early leaders on mask mandates. Well, we will not be able to order people to wear masks at the Quartier Cavendish, synagogues, stores or in apartment buildings when Quebec lifts the mandate. But we sure can do so in our own buildings. I hope our council will decide to maintain mask mandates inside our City Hall, Library and Aquatic and Community Centre.

As for council meetings returning to a live in person format, there is no rush to do so. Since we pivoted to an online format, there are more eyes on our meetings, and I must say during my door to door last fall nobody complained. Sure, we want to return to the City Hall Council Chamber, but only when the time is right. Hopefully that will be soon. It would be prudent to wait and see how the Quebec COVID experiment works first. What happens if the case count doubles in the next month?  On public council meeting evenings, we convene several hours earlier in caucus. The space we use at City Hall is tight under normal circumstances, especially since we have working dinners. This presents a problem we must find a solution to.

And when we do return to public, I believe we should require members of the public to show a vaccine passport or alternatively ask their questions virtually if they have decided not to get the jab.

Folks I had COVID in January 2021. It was a miserable month in my life. I have friends who are Long Haulers. One still has not regained his sense of taste or smell in a year and half.

Now we wait and watch!

See this report on CityNews for which I was one of the people interviewed.

See this Gazette story

 

Comments

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Edwin Brownell

I agree with you Mike and I truly believe that the vaccine mandates are even more important as Omicron is so transmissible. Spend money locally by all means, but let’s do it safely. Nobody wins if we’re stuck in hospital, unable to care for our loved ones, not making a living and not paying our taxes. Thank you for taking your stand. You know what Covid is!

Esther

It sounds like you're afraid. You have the option to wear your mask, but you do not have the right to force others to wear one just because you are now uncomfortable looking at the human face. Maybe therapy would be a more productive option for you.

Andee Shuster

I'm of the mind that although we need to acclimatize ourselves to returning to more normal interactions, activities, and in-person presence in public venues, we should be doing so carefully and using the proven scientific safety tools we have available; ones that have become common practice. There are still vulnerable people to protect in our City and societally, we're not in an endemic stage yet. In terms of mental health, whereas there may be those who want to rip off the Bandaid and be done with COVID protocols, to me, gradual change of health and safety protocols seems like a more prudent plan. If Cote Saint-Luc does continue its mask mandate, for the time being, I understand this situation will have its challenges given that the provincial government has declared masks to be superfluous, but in keeping our mask mandate, we are continuing to make a collective effort to protect our community of residents and staff.

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