Discussion about mask mandates picks up as fourth wave gets worse
Masks have been a fixture in the lives of Nova Scotians for more than a year.
"I got my mask, I'm gonna continue wearing my mask," said Bill Rennie."As long as I'm out here with nobody around I can take it off but once I'm in a gathering of some sort, it's going back on."
Right now, masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces in Nova Scotia. The province had hoped to drop masking and other public health measures when it moves into Phase five of its reopening plan on Oct. 4.
Across the country, many other jurisdictions are reinstating mask mandates as another layer of protection against the fourth wave.
In a statement Thursday, Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for the health department said in part:
"Our public health team is watching the experiences in other jurisdictions, and our epidemiology, very closely to make an informed recommendation on masking to government before we move into Phase 5. More information will be shared with Nova Scotians next week."
When asked about masking on Thursday, Premier Tim Houston said "that's a full discussion we'll have with Dr. Strang about what he thinks is best. If he suggests that we move to, let's call that a modified Phase 5, where masking remains then he'll have our support on that."
Many people say they won't mind wearing a mask a bit longer if it's needed.
"My wife and I moved up from the states where they aren't taking it as seriously and it's good to be somewhere where they take it more seriously," said Jeffrey Jenkins.
"If it allows us to have other liberties such as moving between provinces, I think it's a small thing. It's a bit annoying but it's good to be able to go visit family and even long-term care facilities," said Claire Gabriot.
Parents of young children say wearing a mask is a small price to pay to keep everyone safe.
"I have a two year old, she's only really been alive for this pandemic and she doesn't know any different and she's not vaccinated and she can't be," said Shaina Suzanski. "So, if I can keep her as safe as possible and other children who also can't be vaccinated, or people who are immune compromised then I will wear this forever."
"I've got two kids at home that aren't vaccinated and I am very happy to do whatever I can to keep them safe," said Justine Barnhart.
Audrey Flanders, the owner of Audrey's Little Shop of Plants, says she doesn't expect an impact on business if the province doe decide to continue with the mask mandate.
"I think wearing a mask keeps us all safe. And we'll be happy to continue with whatever Nova Scotia recommends businesses can do," said Flanders.