By | Sewit Haile
To slow the rapid spread of COVID-19, public health experts preach the importance of physical distancing, hand washing and wearing non-medical face masks. They are the most effective and important tools to help control the novel coronavirus.
British Columbia has yet to introduce rules legally requiring people to wear masks. However, many stores and private businesses require a face mask to enter; some have gone as far as to deny a customer’s business if they don’t wear a mask while in the stores. Specialty drink stores and fast food restaurants have either closed all their seating areas or drastically reduced the number of seats. However, some people don’t seem to be very fond of this idea.
On September 13, hundreds of ‘anti-maskers’ gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s North Plaza to protest the use of masks. Although there have been plenty of anti-mask rallies in Vancouver in recent months, this was the largest by far, with several hundreds of protesters assembled – without masks.
Signs examples of the signs read: “I’d rather bury my family who dies from COVID than see them enslaved to the fear of it,” or “breathing is not a crime: end the masquerade” and “fear is the real pandemic.” Not only were the participants not wearing masks, but some also went as far as to cut a hole in the middle, to make their point.
One protester claimed masks can give people cancer (with no scientific data to back up such a claim) and another said that they refuse to wear masks since they already have a mask: their immune system.
One of the main organizers of the protest, Ryan Kulbaba, says that “[they] shouldn’t be shamed for protesting [their] right to breathe oxygen. It’s [their] bodies and [their] choice.” Kulbuba has proudly organized and co-founded other anti-mask protests in the Vancouver area, including the massive “March to Unmask” rally in July. Participants and organizers of this rally dub it as a “March for freedom” rather than a protest.
Of course, at Notre Dame, we are all following the guidance of health professionals and the Ministry of Education, so cohorts and masks are mandatory.
What do you think, Jugglers? Do you think they’re in the wrong, or do they have a point? Vote in the poll below.