Newfoundland and Labrador has only just lifted its mask mandate, but public health officials are still strongly recommending wearing one.
Some places, such as hospitals, long-term care homes and courthouses still require people to cover up, but many private businesses are giving customers an option.
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Lisa Barrett says one good reason to wear a mask is to help those who have not or cannot be vaccinated yet.
“There are a lot of factors that go into whether masks are essential at the moment, but certainly it would not be unreasonable to consider wearing them in large spaces with lots of travelers and lots of people still waiting to be vaccinated,” said Barrett, who works at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Barrett said Atlantic Canadians have been lucky that COVID-19 is fairly under control in their region, but she says it’s still important to protect vulnerable populations.
Children under 12, for example, are still unable to receive a vaccination.
“There’s a good chunk of people, including children, who do not get vaccinated at the moment because they can’t, and we have to keep that in mind as we go forward,” said Barrett, who is originally from Old Perlican, N.L.
“Especially while we’re still learning more about this virus and what the long-term side effects might be.”