First of all, let me be very clear that I believe Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix when they say that the best way to protect ourselves from getting COVID-19 is to wash our hands frequently for 20 seconds, maintain a distance of six feet when we are outside the home, and disinfect surfaces regularly.
I believe them when they say that wearing a mask is no substitute for following those protocols. I don’t wear a mask when I go for a walk in my neighbourhood, but I have started wearing a mask when I go shopping.
While through our collective efforts we have succeeded in flattening the curve and some of the restrictions have been lifted, we are not out of the woods yet. We are in the process of creating new social norms to keep each other safe. Knowing what is polite behaviour in 2020 can be confusing. I think wearing a mask is a good visual reminder during this period of transition.
But here is the main reason I am choosing to wear a mask in public. Wearing a mask has been a common practice among Chinese Canadians. It is an identifier. I know people of Asian heritage who are afraid to wear a mask for fear of becoming the target of racial attacks. I will wear a mask as an expression of solidarity.
Janet Routledge, MLA, Burnaby North