Masks are now mandatory to wear in Ottawa and Toronto on orders from their respective health units, and Bancroft council will put forward a resolution Tuesday to ask Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health to do the same.

“I believe there is a very high desire for the mandatory mask issue to come to into force,” Mayor of Bancroft Paul Jenkins says of workers in the area. “A lot of them are living in a certain degree of fear.”

Jenkins says he is in favour of making masks mandatory.

Mayor of Hastings Highlands Vic Bodnar says he is also in favour is making masks mandatory, but the issue will have to be brought before council for a decision to be made. He says the issue of mandatory masks is on the schedule for the July 29th meeting of council.

“We do have a huge influx of people around this time,” Bodnar says. “This is the height of tourist season so we want to make sure we continue to provide safe measures for everyone in the community. It behooves us to not seriously consider it”

Faraday Township Clerk Dawn Switzer says they would follow suit with what the province or Public Health does. “If they make it mandatory, we will make it mandatory as well,” she tells the newsroom.

Last week he was on a call with Public Health along with municipal officials from throughout Hastings and Prince Edward Counties and coming out of that meeting, he believes the “overwhelming” reaction was that masks need to be made mandatory.

“Although several areas currently experiencing outbreaks of the virus have recently made wearing face coverings a requirement while in commercial establishments, we have carefully determined that a legal requirement for face coverings in our community is not necessary at this time,” Public Health’s Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Alexa Caturay said last week. “It is important to recognize that implementing and enforcing mandatory face coverings would require redeployment of local public health workers from high priority areas such as inspection and enforcement of long-term care homes, food service settings, and personal service settings, and planning for the reopening of schools. We will continue to monitor the local situation and are prepared to respond appropriately if additional measures are required.”

She added in her statement that Public Health is encouraging all residents to wear a face-covering in public settings when physical distancing is not possible.

A special council meeting is being held Tuesday and Jenkins says a resolution will be put forward to ask Public Health to make masks mandatory. “I think in the next couple of days a lot more will transpire,” he says.