March 5, 2022

How much longer will masks be mandatory in Kingston?

For the past year, residents in the Kingston region have had to wear masks in public places as mandated by Kingston Frontenac and Lennox and Addington public health.

But as the population’s vaccination numbers continue to grow, does the public plan to keep or ditch their masks whenever possible?

“I don’t like wearing a mask, but I care about not being a vector for disease so I’ll wear a mask until Public Health tells us the danger has been minimized,” Kingston resident Anne Johnson said.

“You get used to it,” Kingston resident Roma Ebrahim added. “And I prefer wearing it when we’re outside anyway because you breathe in less of whatever’s going on and you feel safer.”

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With a year under our belts when it comes to wearing masks in public settings, Dr. Gerald Evans, a professor with Queen’s University, says there’s only one thing that will make masks a thing of the past sooner rather than later.

“Really everything depends on vaccination status,” Evans said. “If we get lots of people fully vaccinated I think we’re looking at a real opportunity to be able to start looking at a reduction in masking.”

Dr. Evans praises local public health for adopting the mandate quickly last year.

“When you have good control of the virus with early mask-wearing mandates, that was done here in KFL&A, that was brought in by public health very, very early, the effect is to see a region like our own with very low numbers — even during the first, second and third wave,” Evans said.

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Evans estimates by the end of the summer 80 per cent of the population should have both their first and second shots.

At that point, wearing masks in public could become a thing of the past, along with other restrictions.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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