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Hamilton joins province in ending masking mandate

Hamilton joins province in ending masking mandate

By a vote of 12-2 Hamilton Council voted to rescind its masking bylaw and by a 14-0 vote ended the physical distancing policy. Most councillors criticized the provincial government for putting local councils in the position of having to vote on masking, saying it should have been a province-wide order. Mayor Fred Eisenberger in introducing the motion to end masking said he did so reluctantly, but pointed out that chaos would ensue if Hamilton found itself offside with the rest of the province. Councillor Lloyd Ferguson said council would be subjected to harsh criticism no matter what position it took, such is the polarizing effect of the pandemic on the public mood. Councillor Brad Clark agreed that it was time to move on. Councillor Esther Pauls noted that Hamilton had always followed the advice of the Provincial Chief Medical Officer and now that Dr. Kieran Moore is endorsing an end to mandatory masking, his advice should be followed now as well. Councillors Maureen Wilson and Nrinder Nann opposed the removal of the mask mandates, saying it would disproportionally  impact marginalized Hamiltonians who are at greater risk of being infected, Wilson said wearing a mask could be considered “an act of love” in that it served as a demonstration of concern for others as well as oneself. That prompted a reaction from Ward Four councillor Sam Merulla who is seldom heard from at Council since he announced he will not be running this fall.

In an informal unscientific drive-around this morning, there were still a large number of Hamilton residents seen wearing masks.

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