The Town of Edson has passed a Mandatory Facial Covering Bylaw, however, it has not been enacted.
Edson Town Council gave three readings to Bylaw 2250 on Tuesday, in the event the Town should need to have the bylaw put in place due to COVID-19.
The Town says the bylaw would only come into effect if certain benchmarks are met, including:
More than 10 active cases within the Edson Region;
A persistent spread of active cases within the community;
An outbreak within local schools, which may or may not result in a closure of the school(s);
A persistent and active Infection rate profile of neighboring communities (e.g. Hinton, Whitecourt, Evansburg, etc.)
If any of those benchmarks are reached, it would move Edson into the Medium Risk category of the bylaw and it would trigger the bylaw to make facial coverings mandatory.
Council says there will be some exemptions to wearing masks should they become required, including:
Persons under 2 years of age;
Persons who are unable to place, use, or remove Face Coverings without assistance;
Persons providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a Face Covering would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
Persons consuming food or drink in designated seating areas or as part of a religious or spiritual ceremony;
Persons engaging in aquatic activities or physical exercise; or
Persons engaging in services that require the temporary removal of a Face Covering.
Edson Mayor Kevin Zahara says Council is taking a proactive approach to mandatory masking by having the bylaw in place and ready to go.
“This is a move to ensure we’re ready in the event of a substantial outbreak in the Edson area. If we are physically distancing, sanitizing our hands, and staying home if sick, the chances of spread are significantly reduced. Let’s continue those efforts so we don’t hit the thresholds outlined in the bylaw.”
The bylaw carries a potential fine of $100 for a first offence and $200 for subsequent offences. However, the Town says the main goal will be education at the start of any program.
Edson has had two confirmed COVID-19 cases since March.