As municipalities across Alberta continue to discuss the use of masks and face coverings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Cold Lake says it is not considering a mandatory mask bylaw.
The Corporate Priorities Committee (CPC) of Council this week was presented with information on mask bylaws being implemented by other municipalities including those that take effect immediately after passing, and those which are trigger-based and only go into effect once a specific event occurs (eg: the number of active cases in a community reaches a specific threshold). Considering the consistently low number of active COVID-19 cases in the city throughout the course of the pandemic, the committee concluded a mask bylaw is not required at this time.
“Since the pandemic began, we’ve been closely following the advice of Alberta Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health,” said Mayor Craig Copeland. “The province has left it up to each municipality to determine if a mask bylaw is needed, and at this time we don’t feel one is warranted here in Cold Lake. If the situation changes in the future and the number of cases increases significantly, or we receive new direction from Alberta Health, then we are certainly prepared to reopen the discussion.”
While face coverings are not currently mandatory in public spaces, the city says it should be noted there are several retailers and organizations in the Cold Lake area who require customers to wear masks when using their establishments based on their corporate policies and/or business requirements. Others do not necessarily require, but strongly encourage mask use while attending their establishments.
In the mean time, the city says all residents are encouraged to wear masks in public places when it is difficult or impossible to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres or six feet, and are reminded to practice good hand hygiene and stay home when sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The latest information about the pandemic, provincial health orders and Alberta’s response to COVID-19 are posted at www.alberta.ca/COVID-19.