Masks or other face coverings are not going to be mandatory in the Town of Whitecourt, at least not at this time.
Whitecourt Town Council heard a report from Administration at Tuesday’s meeting about face coverings and what other communities in the province have done in regards to bylaws and enforcement.
Throughout the pandemic, Town Council has deferred all health-related decisions to Alberta Health Services, who continue to mandate that the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to maintain a physical distance of 2m from others, wash hands frequently, and stay home when sick.
The province has left the decision to implement masks up to each individual municipality or jurisdiction. Whitecourt Town Council had a lengthy discussion on the mask topic, and most councillors agreed that with no active cases in the area, a mask bylaw is not needed at this point in time. They also indicated that the lengths the town would have to go to create, pass, and then enforce a bylaw of that nature are not necessary for where the region is at currently case-wise.
Mayor Maryann Chichak says they left the topic and discussion open for a later time to revisit if the situation changes.
While masks are not required in public places or buildings, the town does require them on public transit and Council encourages residents to use face coverings when they cannot maintain physical distancing.
The Whitecourt area has had one case of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. There are currently no active cases in the Whitecourt/Woodlands County area.