May 26, 2022

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Top health official defends decision to not wear mask after returning from international travel

Ontario’s top health official is brushing aside criticism over his decision to go unmasked during a press conference following his return from a personal trip out of the country.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has faced some social media criticism for not wearing a mask during a press conference on Monday, in which he spoke with reporters about the pandemic for the first time in more than a month.

His critics have suggested that by going maskless, Moore was violating federal rules, which require individuals returning from abroad to wear masks in public spaces for a period of 14 days.

But in an interview with CP24 on Thursday, Moore said that he did nothing wrong and pointed out that the press conference was not in fact held in a public space.

“I maintain distance, I screen every day, and I am four-dose immunized. I took the mask off for the press conference. I think wearing a mask is difficult in the press conference, but I just want to remind people it’s not a public space,” he said of the Queen’s Park location. “The law federally is that you must mask in a public space, but that was only members of the press, the vast majority of whom I looked at were fully masked as well.”

Other public figures, including the prime minister, have also returned from international travel and not worn a mask at a press conference.

The masking rule remains in-place at the federal level, despite a loosening of other, similar, restrictions on people returning from trips abroad. The government has not addressed when the restriction might be dropped or how it could be enforced.

Moore’s recent vacation came as calls grew for him to address Ontarians about the sixth wave of the pandemic.

At one point last week, when Moore was out of the country, Premier Doug Ford was asked about his absence but didn’t acknowledge that Ontario’s top doctor was taking some time off.

Instead, ford defended Moore’s work ethic, noting that “he is on the job 24/7 looking at the figures, looking at the stats.”

Speaking with reporters at a press conference earlier on Thursday, Ford defended his handling of the matter, noting that he “was honest.” And that Moore communicated with him and Minister of Health Christine Elliott frequently throughout his trip.

“What I understand is that he was working all the time there,” he said. “You know, I just appreciate everything that Dr. Moore has done. He’s a relentless worker, and he does a good job.”


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