Sask. Opposition leader critical of premier's comments about mask use

Sask. NDP Leader Ryan Meili said Premier Scott Moe's comments on Thursday about mask use were irresponsible and called for clear guidance from the government about when and where masks should be used.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili called for clear mask use guidelines

NDP Leader Ryan Meili was critical of comments made by Premier Scott Moe on Thursday about mask use and called for clear guidance from the province about when and where masks should be used. (The Canadian Press)

The Premier of Saskatchewan is facing criticism from the official opposition for a comment he made earlier this week when answering a question about anti-mask groups in the province.

"If you don't want to wear a mask, that's fine. But you should stay two metres apart from people," Moe said during Thursday's provincial COVID-19 update.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab responded by saying a mask is an additional layer of protection when you can't physically distance yourself.

Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili said those comments amounted to a "screw-up" on Moe's part and were unhelpful.

"He gave that response in comments about these anti-mask groups," Meili said. 

"That is something the Premier should be able to be pretty loud and clear on, that that's not a helpful thing right now." 

Meili said Shahab and other medical experts from around the world have highlighted the importance of mask use in reducing COVID-19 transmissions.

He said the premier sending a weak message about mask use, particularly when COVID-19 cases are rising and children are returning to the classroom, is irresponsible.

Meili called on the government to introduce clear guidelines about when and where to use masks. 

"We see this in other provinces and other parts of the world, [a clear description] of places where it should be used," Meili said.

"It's not that hard. When you're in an indoor, public space, with people who aren't part of your bubble, you should wear a mask." 

Shahab said people who are gathering with others outside of their own virtual households, should be wearing a mask and practising physical distancing measures.

He said for those who might not like being told what to do when it comes to wearing masks, they should consider that the simple action of putting one on a great way to prevent the virus from further spreading.

"The evidence is clear this simple action can make a difference," he said.


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