On November 17, Chestermere City Council passed a temporary mandatory mask bylaw that will require residents and visitors to wear a face covering at all times while in an indoor public space, public workplace, or public vehicle where other people are present.
“Council passed this bylaw after receiving an overwhelming number of emails and comments from residents asking for further action to protect our community from COVID-19,” says Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “This bylaw is temporary and will only be activated when the Government of Alberta places the City under an enhanced status, as we have been for the past few weeks.”
As the City is currently listed under the 'enhanced' status by the Government of Alberta, the temporary mandatory mask bylaw is now active and will remain active until that status is removed.
The temporary mask bylaw does not apply to the following places:
- schools and other educational facilities
- hospitals and health-care facilities
- child care facilities; and
- areas where physical barriers or physical distancing practices have been properly implemented.
The temporary mask bylaw does not apply to the following people:
- persons under the age of 2
- persons who are unable to place, use, or remove a face covering without assistance
- persons unable to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical concern or limitation, or protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act, RSA 2000 cA-25.5
- persons consuming food or drink in designated seating areas or as part of religious or spiritual ceremony
- persons engaged in water activities or physical exercise
- persons providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a face covering would hinder that caregiving or assistance
- persons engaging in services that require the temporary removal of a face covering.
“We are aware that mask use has become somewhat of a divisive issue, not only among our residents, but all around the world,” says Chalmers. “But ultimately, the evidence shows that masks can protect the wearer and those in proximity to that person. Therefore, as the safety, welfare and the health of our residents is the most important issue, we must do whatever we can to combat the rapidly increasing infection rates in our province and in our own community.”
The World Health Organization, Chief Public Health Officer for Canada and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta have identified face coverings as a way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in circumstances where physical distancing may not be possible.
“We take the recent call to action from the Premier and Dr. Hinshaw seriously, and in addition to now mandating mask use, we are asking people to limit their gatherings, practice physical distancing, and continue with other COVID-safe practices such as staying home when sick, and washing and sanitizing your hands frequently,” adds Chalmers. “We want our indoor sports, fitness activities, businesses, faith groups, and our local organizations to be able to go back to normal as soon as possible, and we need your help to do that.”
The temporary mandatory mask bylaw will be enforced by City Peace Officers and RCMP, and anyone found to be contravening the bylaw will be subject to a $100 fine.
To read a copy of the bylaw, click here .