How to make COVID-19 mask-wearing a habit: Social scientists offer some suggestions

Toronto public transit riders will be required to wear face coverings on subways, streetcars and buses as of July 2 to prevent transmission of COVID-19. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

(Amina Zafar/ CBC News) — Mandating, not just recommending, the use of non-medical masks will help convince more Canadians to wear them as the economy reopens, just as wearing seatbelts is now the norm, some social scientists and physicians say.

In Canada’s largest city, wearing non-medical masks is now mandatory for people riding with the Toronto Transit Commission, with certain exemptions, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. A bylaw extending the rule to indoor public spaces goes into effect on July 7. Similarly, mayors in Peel Region, which includes Mississauga and Brampton, west of Toronto, and York Region to the north also plan to introduce such bylaws.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault announced that public transit users in the province will be required to wear masks starting on July 13.

Many health authorities now consider face coverings a necessity, and governments are passing laws that require them, but those laws are difficult to enforce. That’s why behavioural scientists say it’s so important for the public to get on board if the rules are going to stick. (…)

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