Premier Scott Moe wears mask, tells public to put one on when necessary

On Thursday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe posted a photo showing him wearing a Saskatchewan Roughriders face mask, and asked the public to follow his lead.

"When you are in places where physical distancing is difficult, wear a mask," Moe posted on his social media pages, while also taking a jab at other Canadian Football League teams.

"While this hasn't been scientifically proven, I choose to believe that a Rider mask provides a far better defence than, say, a Stampeder mask or a Bomber mask."

Moe also reminded people to follow public health guidelines to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, including limiting contacts outside your household, handwashing and staying home if sick.

"Almost everything is reopened now and we do not want to go back to having to close businesses, services and activities," Moe tweeted Thursday.

COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan have risen 400 per cent in just two weeks. On July 10, there were 43 active cases. As of Friday, there were 235.

The spike has prompted more calls for mask-wearing in public. The Saskatchewan government and health officials have maintained a recommendation to wear one when you can't physically distance is fine at the moment.

Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has said masks cannot replace also prevention measures.

Mask messaging too vague: Meili

NDP Leader Ryan Meili, who posted a video tutorial on how to make a homemade mask back in April, said Friday "evidence has been very clear" that mask use is important.

"It is one of the key things we have to have people using, and using regularly, as we reopen the economy and reopen schools."

Ryan Meili/YouTube
Ryan Meili/YouTube

Meili said it was good to see Premier Moe "finally promoting mask use."

"I've been really disappointed with the premier to date," and it took too long for Moe to wear a mask publicly, Meili said.

He called Moe's post vague and criticized the government for mixed messaging on mask use.

Last week, the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses called for mandatory masking.

A recent Angus Reid survey said 55 per cent of Saskatchewan respondents supported a mandatory mask policy.

The 45 per cent who said they were against such policies represented the highest total of any province in Canada in the survey.

Nova Scotia, Calgary make masks mandatory

On Friday, Nova Scotia became the latest Canadian jurisdiction to make masks mandatory indoors. That province reported one active case of COVID-19 Friday.

'"This is how we can protect each other and support our local businesses," Premier Stephen McNeil said Friday.

The cities of Edmonton and Calgary have also introducing mask-wearing rules.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Tuesday the city needs to take "bold action now if we want schools to reopen if we want kids to feel safe."

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical health officer, said her province will review mask-use in schools.

"As a physician and as a parent myself, I encourage all parents across Alberta to include reusable cloth masks on their back to school shopping list this year," Hinshaw said Thursday.

Studies on mask use increasing

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended members of the public wear a mask when around those not in your household.

"This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth," the CDC said.

It also posted 18 recent studies from around the world that looked at mask use.

One recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found universal masking reduced COVID-19 within a Boston hospital system.

Another study, from the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said two hairstylists who were later found to have COVID-19, but wore face masks, didn't spread the illness to any of their customers.


Canadian public health guidance currently says while mask use alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19, the public should wear masks when physical distancing is not possible in crowded spaces, including when using public transit or shopping.

The World Health Organization's scientific brief published on July 9 also promotes the use of non-medical masks.

"Given that infected people without symptoms can transmit the virus, it is also prudent to encourage the use of fabric face masks in public places where there is community transmission and where other prevention measures … are not possible," the WHO's brief said.

U of Regina recommends use

The University of Regina posted an updated statement on Friday about the use of masks while on campus.

"Though the University of Regina is not yet mandating the wearing of masks, we now strongly recommend that all members of the university community wear a mask in public/shared spaces on our campuses," the statement said.

The U of R and the University of Saskatchewan are planning to have a mostly remote fall semester.