July 28, 2020
Council will determine whether mandatory masks will be required in all municipal indoor public spaces and transit vehicles, at their August 17 meeting. Town Council passed second reading of the temporary bylaw during a special meeting on Monday.If passed, the bylaw would mandate the Town of Okotoks to require all members of the public to wear a mask whenever they are in a municipal facility or vehicle.“Council felt this was an important measure to balance the safety of our community while allowing businesses the ability to choose how to apply health and safety measures,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “Now is an important time to take action, as the Government of Alberta is reporting increasing numbers of daily COVID-19 cases across the province, especially in the Calgary area.”Administration was also directed to preparing an additional bylaw to extend the mandatory wearing of masks to all indoor public places when cases reach 15 in Okotoks. This number is defined by Alberta Health Services as the threshold for a trigger to consider additional actions.
The bylaw defines public spaces as any municipal building or enclosed area where the public has access. This includes the Okotoks Recreation Centre, Pason Centennial Arenas, the Eco Centre, art gallery, museum and Rotary Performing Arts Centre, and other municipal buildings.
Exemptions include children under two and those under five who are resistant, or people with medical conditions or disabilities.
“Our focus would be on encouraging the public to voluntarily comply with the bylaw, and to help the public better understand that wearing masks is the right thing to do to protect each other,” said Peter Stapley, manager of municipal enforcement.
It is important to note that masks are an additional safety measure and that everyone needs to continue to practice 2-metre physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home if they are feeling unwell.
The bylaw will be presented for third reading at the August 17 regular meeting of Council.