‘The pandemic is not over’: transit users react to the lifting of the mask mandate | CBC News

Dan Delorme will be wearing his mask on public transportation, for the foreseeable future, even though he no longer has to wear one.

On Saturday, the province lifted its remaining mask mandates for public transportation and in healthcare settings.

“You could say I’m a little restless,” Delorme told CBC on Saturday, as he waited for his bus on Rideau Street. “I still protect myself. I still wear my mask and try not to touch any surfaces.”

Delorme is very cautious because he suffers from asthma, he said: “If I get COVID, I will not survive because it is a disease that affects the lungs. I do not risk it.”

Ivy Chan doesn’t take any chances either. She continues to cover her face for her “own protection” from her.

“And for the protection of the people I love and really care about,” he said. “The pandemic is not over. I just don’t feel comfortable with unmasking.”

Emma Deleon wears a mask while waiting for a taxi at ByWard Market. She says that the piece of cloth from her has kept her from “getting sick” in the past. That is why she will continue to use it.

Emma Deleon wears a mask while waiting for a taxi on Rideau Street on June 11, 2022. (Rachelle Elsiufi/CBC)

OC Transpo announced earlier this week that while wearing a mask on public transportation is strongly encouraged, it will no longer be required.

The additional sanitation measures introduced for the pandemic will be maintained. These include daily cleaning of all vehicles and stations, protective shields at the front of buses, and contactless payment options.

Public transportation users are required to wear a mask from June 15, 2020 after the city’s transit commission approved the policy.

Ottawa Public Health still recommends wearing a mask, even though the province ended the mandate.

Fewer masks could increase infections, doctor says

In closed spaces without adequate ventilation, such as public transportation, airports, and classrooms, Dr. Emilio Alarcón, an assistant professor of biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology at the University of Ottawa, says that wearing masks could help prevent disease spread.

OC Transpo still recommends wearing a mask on public transportation, but says as of Saturday masks are no longer required on buses or the LRT. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

“So it’s all about ventilation and air and how quickly you have to replace the air, especially if you have these particles floating around.”

He warns that without the remaining mask mandates, we could see an increase in the number of infections. Recommend getting the booster shot, when available.

“If you get the booster now, you’ll have a safer summer.”

Ottawa hospitals retain mask requirement

While the province has also removed the requirement for masks in health care settings, Ottawa hospitals are doing what many hospitals in Ontario do and maintaining mask requirements.

Provincial mask mandate for nursing homes and long-term care remains in place.

“We must not forget that this is still a pandemic,” Alarcón said. “This pandemic is not gone. [We] have a long road ahead. If we don’t work this together [pandemic will last] even longer.”


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