Public health is about following evidence, so when we call for change, that change is the result of what our evidence is telling us. Lately evidence has been coming at great speed and volume.
We’ve been doing our best to keep you informed, but some of you may feel like in March and April we said cloth masks weren’t needed, then in May and June said cloth masks were needed and now we’re saying they’ll soon be mandatory. We know this may have seemed confusing, and we’re sorry about that.
However, each shift was evidence-based. Before we knew about asymptomatic transmission, there was no need for you to wear a cloth mask unless you were sick. Then evidence emerged to support its existence. We needed to react quickly, so we asked you to wear cloth masks when distancing was difficult to protect those around you.
We are once again in a period of change. The emerging evidence shows us that wearing cloth masks in indoor public spaces is a necessary measure to help keep our community safe; especially as we all begin gathering again. We know that this transition won’t be easy for you.
There will be bumps in the road as we work with community partners to implement this measure. Some of you may have a hard time adjusting, and that’s OK. We’re all human, and none of us are perfect, but we will make this work. We know this isn’t easy for you, and we understand.
Just know that we care. We really do. We’ve been at this for months now, working tirelessly to try to keep pace with COVID-19 and keep you safe. Can we guarantee that things won’t shift again? No. Can we guarantee that this measure will put an end to COVID-19? Also no.
But we can say this: we will beat this. We will keep following evidence and working together. We’ve said it 100 times: We are in this together.
Ottawa Public Health