For nearly two months, I have been investigating the heavy-handed enforcement of COVID-related regulations, specifically the mask mandate. The rules have changed so much that it seems no one really knows what they’re enforcing, and the law is being left largely open to interpretation.
It keeps bringing me back to the same question: why are people who are mask exempt being treated like criminals?
It started in Peterborough, Ont. when I was treated like a criminal for reporting on an individual who was purchasing a coffee without a face covering. Since then, I’ve contacted Peterborough police, the local MPP, the Ministry of the Solicitor General and local police in a few other locations where I’ve reported.
But no one has answers. There haven’t been any reports of businesses facing threats of fines or criminal charges for the non-respecting of the clearly laid out mask exceptions as per Regulation 364/20 of the Reopening Ontario Act.
MPP for Peterborough-Northumberland South David Piccini responded via email that “we not stigmatize those who are unable to wear face covering… Being kind, patient and respectful goes a long way. Implementation of this directive should be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and used as a means to educate people on effective public health measures in public spaces.”
Yet, the stories continue to pour in of individuals being criminalized for simply trying to go about their day without wearing a face covering. Many of them feel as though they are viewed as Typhoid Marys, as fear of asymptomatic spread replaces the kindness, respect and “good faith” enforcement that sounds so good on paper.
I’m still on the hunt to find out why this is being implemented so heavily on one side, and who is advocating and enforcing the other side.