VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Wearing a mask for the safety of others has been suggested by health officials, but a professor of cognitive science says it isn’t worth it for citizens to enforce this among themselves.
“It’s a question of what is going to do the most good, right? When you tell someone what they’re doing is morally problematic, they find it very upsetting and distressing and will often respond with anger,” explains Dr. Jim Davies.
“People don’t really like being told what to do.”
He says it might be more acceptable for some people to make the request, such as someone who is immunocompromised. Davies adds store employees also have more authority to ask someone to wear a mask.
Rather than mandating their use in public spaces, he says it is more effective to praise people for positive behaviour and outlining the good that wearing a mask does for others.
“Generally, citizens trying to get other citizens to behave will cause resentment and might even backfire,” Davies says.
No mandatory masks in B.C.
While a sweeping mandate for masks isn’t coming from B.C. health officials, wearing a mask when physical distancing isn’t possible is still recommended.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says since there isn’t a lot of community spread, B.C. isn’t at a point where mandatory masks are necessary.
“It is not my expectation that we will require mandatory masking in indoor spaces. We know that it is an additional layer on top of the other layers that we use to keep each other safe, and it is the least effective of the layers that we have.”
2/2 But, Dr Henry says, she *strongly* encourages ppl wear masks for short terms in tight spaces.
If widespread community spread this could change@adriandix says masks don’t negate need for 6′ distance, few ppl, plexiglass barriers#bcpoli #covid19 @news1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) July 23, 2020
She points out there are reasons some people aren’t able to wear masks.
“We need to be able to accommodate them without stigmatizing people.”
Re: doctor taking legal action to demand mandatory use of masks in #BC, both Henry and Dix say that won’t happen because it is not the best approach, but they both want people to voluntarily wear masks when you can’t safely keep 2 metres apart. #bcpoli #COVID19 @NEWS1130
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) July 23, 2020
Henry has also refused to make the wearing of masks mandatory, even though a Lower Mainland doctor is taking legal action to do so.
-With files from Marcella Bernardo