At their regular Sept. 28, 2020 Council meeting, Wetaskiwin City Council passed a temporary COVID-19 face coverings bylaw (1973-20).
Bylaw 1973-20 states that a face covering must be worn at all times in indoor public spaces and public vehicles, unless the person is separated from others in the vehicle by an installed screen, shield, or other barrier.
The bylaw will not come into effect until a threshold of 15 active COVID-19 cases in Wetaskiwin is reached, as reported by Alberta Health Services.
“We are following the Province’s lead on this by continuing to highly recommend the use of masks in public spaces—especially where physical distancing cannot be maintained,” said Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam. “We cannot, however, ignore the risk to the community-at-large if we see the number of active COVID-19 cases in Wetaskiwin reach 15 people or more.”
The fine specified within the bylaw include a $50 penalty for failing to wear a face covering where required, and a $200 penalty for employers, operators, or proprietors who fail to display signage stating that masks are mandatory on the premises.
“This bylaw is an appropriate measure taken for the potential of increased COVID-19 cases in our area,” said Robert Osmond, Director of Emergency Management with the City of Wetaskiwin. “Masks, combined with physical distancing, reduces the spread of COVID-19. The public should wear a mask when physical distancing measures cannot be maintained.”
The face coverings bylaw states several exemptions to the mandatory use of face coverings including:
• Children under the age of two;
• Persons unable to place, use, or remove a face covering safely without assistance;
• Persons with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits their ability to wear a face covering;
• Persons who are seated at a table or bar at a public premises that offers food or beverage services;
• Persons engaging in an athletic or fitness activity;
• Persons who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability;
• Persons who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service.
If the threshold of 15 active cases of COVID-19 is reached the bylaw will come into effect and remain in effect until 30 days after the reported number of local COVID-19 cases falls below the threshold.