P.E.I. NDP launches campaign to bring back mask mandate

·2 min read
NDP of P.E.I. president Jason Alward says the mask mandate should be reinstated because of the new COVID-19 variants. (Kirk Pennell/CBC - image credit)
NDP of P.E.I. president Jason Alward says the mask mandate should be reinstated because of the new COVID-19 variants. (Kirk Pennell/CBC - image credit)

The NDP of P.E.I. is launching a social media campaign to reinstate the rules mandating masks be worn in indoor public places on P.E.I.

Party president Jason Alward is collecting signatures for a petition to present to Premier Dennis King in the next two weeks.

"We hope the signatures are high, we invite everyone to come and sign that. We need to let Premier King know that this is a prudent move by bringing the masks in. The mask doesn't inconvenience us when it comes to protecting ourselves against the virus," Alward said.

He said the announcement to drop the mask mandate came unexpectedly, and it's not yet safe to change the policy.

"This is not right, we need to be prudent on this. We need to bring that mask mandate back, and we need to get out of this properly. We've seen fourth waves starting to come up around the world, we don't want that on Prince Edward Island," he said.

"This puts Islanders at risk for the more deadly variants," adding a majority of Islanders haven't had a second dose.

One dose is not enough protection against the new COVID-19 variants, Alward said. He wants a large majority of the province to have a second dose before making wearing masks optional.

Essential workers, young people at risk

Alward said the premier is putting risk on essential workers.

"He should realize that Islanders are quite frightened at this situation where they're in the tourism industry, they're out there, the front-line workers."

People under the age of 50 are also at more risk because most of them have not received a second dose, Alward said.

Travis Kingdon/CBC
Travis Kingdon/CBC

"We've seen the cases with younger people increase as well too. Parents should be concerned about this, a lot of the people who've had the second dose are older people," he said.

"If you look at the age groups under age 50, a lot of them haven't even reached 30 per cent."

In an interview on Island Morning Monday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the province made the decision based on the current epidemiology.

Masks are not the first line of defence against COVID, she said, but part of a basket of measures including physical distancing, handwashing, and restrictions at provincial borders to keep COVID-19 out.

She noted unvaccinated visitors to the province must self-isolate, and when the province opens to the rest of Canada on July 18 only fully-vaccinated people from outside Atlantic Canada will be able to come without self-isolating.

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