Two Sikh doctors have decided to shave their beards in order to wear the protective masks that are required when treating patients with COVID-19, the Montreal Gazette reported.
Physician Sanjeet Singh-Saluja and neurosurgeon Rajeet Singh-Saluja are brothers who work at the McGill University Health Centre's (MUHC) Montreal General and Royal Victoria hospitals.
"We could choose not to work, but in a time when healthcare workers are falling sick, we would be adding stress to an already taxed system. We could decide to simply refuse to see COVID-19 patients until viable protection is available to us, but that goes against our oath as physicians and against the principles of SEVA", Sanjeet Singh-Saluja said in a video posted on the MUHC website.
"It was an extremely difficult decision for us, but one that we felt was absolutely necessary in this time of need", he added.
According to the Sikh faith, Sikhs cannot cut off their hair or shave their beards. They need to honour and maintain the first strand of beard that grows.
The doctors decided to shave their beards after consulting with religious advisers, family, and friends, according to the report.
Shortages of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers has been a hot-button issue in Canada.
On 6 May, 202,934 people signed a petition brought forward by more than 60 Canadian doctors urging federal and provincial leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu, to protect healthcare workers facing a shortage of N95 respirator masks and surgical masks as well as gloves and face shields.