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Mandatory Masks

Mandatory Masks

Mandatory masks are in effect for all indoor public spaces in Okotoks.

Updated November 24, 2020

The Alberta government has implemented mandatory mask regulations for areas surrounding Calgary, which includes Okotoks. These new regulations supersede the municipal bylaw.

Details

effective October 26, 2020

Mandatory mask bylaw 31-20 invoked as active COVID-19 cases reach 16

With the active COVID-19 cases reaching 16 on October 26, mandatory masks are required in all indoor public spaces in Okotoks. The bylaw will be in effect until actives cases are under 15 for 30 consecutive days.

The regulations will require masks to be worn in all indoor public spaces such as eating and drinking establishments, public vehicles (e.g. Okotoks Transit, taxis), entertainment establishments, retail stores, places of worship, gyms, studios, common areas of hotels, medical clinics and offices where the public has access. Masks will also continue to be required in all indoor municipal public spaces.

November 24, 2020

The Town of Okotoks remains on the Alberta Health Services (AHS) watch list for COVID-19 cases. There were new requirements announced on November 24, 2020 for all of Alberta, including Okotoks as part of an emergency public health order issued by the Alberta Government.

Please continue to watch the Alberta Government website and the Town's main COVID-19 information page for updates.

Alberta Government COVID-19 page

The Town has added a daily COVID case tracker tab to the main COVID-19 information page to help residents stay updated on current numbers in Okotoks.

View current cases


Alberta Health Services Tracker

To view cases in Okotoks visit the AHS regional status map page, which is updated regularly with current cases. Scroll down to the list of active cases by region and search 'Okotoks'. 

Alternatively, visit the AHS statistics page. Navigate on this page to ’geospatial’, then use the map to find Okotoks. 

Government of Alberta COVID-19 links:

 

Why do we need a bylaw now that Alberta Health has made masks mandatory?

Our bylaw is locally focused and triggered when our Town reaches “watch status” with Alberta Health which is 15 active cases. The Town’s bylaw only speaks to “Public Places” The Provincial masking legislation also includes non-public work spaces and was triggered by a broader Provincial outlook on COVID-19. Both pieces of legislation will remain in effect with the Okotoks bylaw ending when active cases go below 15 for 30 consecutive days. The Provincial masking regulations are at the discretion of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

What qualifies as an indoor public place?

This means all or part of a building, structure, or other enclosed area to which the public has access as of right or by invitation, express, or implied, regardless of whether a fee is charged for entry, and for clarification includes but is not limited to:

  • eating and drinking establishments
  • public vehicles (e.g. Okotoks Transit, taxis)
  • entertainment establishments, amusement arcades, bingo establishments, adult entertainment establishments, theatres
  • markets, retail stores, garden centres, shopping centres, and other places where goods or services are made available to the public
  • places of worship, community facilities, recreational facilities, and places where people gather for cultural purposes
  • gyms, studios, and other exercise facilities
  • indoor or enclosed parking facilities
  • premises used as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes
  • common areas of hotels, motels, and other short term rentals
  • medical clinics
  • offices to which the public has access

What does not qualify as a public place?

  • schools and education programs governed by the Education Act SA 2012 c. C-0.3
  • daycares and other childcare facilities including those governed by the Child Care Licensing Act, SA 2007 c. C-10.5
  • children’s day camps
  • post-secondary institutions
  • hospitals, independent health facilities, and offices of regulated health professionals
  •  

What qualifies as a mask or face covering?

This can include a medical or non-medical mask or face covering such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.

What are the exemptions to the Town's bylaw?

  • Children under the age of two (2) years
  • Children under the age of five (5) years who refuse to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by the caregiver accompanying them
  • Persons with a medical condition or disability that inhibits their ability to safely wear a mask
  • Persons who are unable to safely put on, use, or remove a mask without assistance
  • Persons who are actively consuming food or drink at an indoor public place that offers food or beverage services
  • Persons who have temporarily removed their masks for the purposes of:
    • Receiving or providing services that require removal of the mask
    • Actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity; or
  • For emergency or medical purposes;
    • Persons who require accommodation in accordance with the Alberta Human Rights Act, RSA 2000 c. A-25.5
    • Employees working at an indoor public place within an area designated for them where public access is prohibited; and
    • Employees working at an indoor public place who are within or behind a physical barrier that separates them from the public and creates a barrier that blocks respiratory droplets

Do I still need to stay 2 metres away from others if I am wearing a mask?

Yes. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep two metres of physical distance even when wearing a mask.

How was the number of cases set at 15 to invoke Bylaw 31-20 to make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces?

The number of 15 arises from the definition of a community under watch status by Alberta Health Services.  A ‘watch’ status with AHS is defined as ‘the province is monitoring the risk and discussing with local government(s) and other community leaders the possible need for additional health measures’.  It requires two indicators: at least 10 active cases and more than 50 active cases per 100,000.  This translates to 15 cases based on Okotoks' population of approximately 30,000.

Where can I find additional information on health information or research on the importance of wearing a face covering or mask?

Please visit the Alberta Health Services website for health-related information on wearing masks and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17166.aspx

What is my responsibility as a business owner?

Businesses that provide indoor services have a role to play in helping everyone comply with the new bylaw.

Operators of enclosed public spaces are required to post visible signs with specific messaging about the bylaw that indicates the mask requirement. Business owners can download a sign to print and display. Download the mandatory mask poster

What if someone enters my business without a mask?

If a person arrives without a mask, operators must notify them of the mask requirement as soon as possible after they enter the premises.

If the client says they are exempt from the bylaw, they do not need to show proof and no further action is needed on behalf of the operator.

If a patron refuses to wear a mask and is not exempt from the bylaw, a business operator may report the issue to the Town for follow-up. This applies to patrons of businesses, and business employees as well.

The business is not expected to evict a customer or refuse service to people who are not complying with the bylaw.

What qualifies as a mask or face covering?

This can include a medical or non-medical mask or face covering such as a bandana, scarf, cloth or similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.

Am I required to ask for proof of exemption?

No. The bylaw does not require people to provide proof of exemption.

Where do employees need to wear masks?

The Okotoks masking bylaw requires Employees are required to wear a mask upon entering their place of business and keep the mask on while in this public indoor space.  Masks are not required if employees are separated from the public by a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, a partition, screen or wall). For Provincial masking requirements click here 

How do I report someone for not wearing a mask?

  • If you have concerns about someone not wearing a mask, please keep in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the bylaw, and there is no requirement for people to prove their condition or disability.
  • Many conditions are invisible: people should take individuals at their word and be kind and respectful.

Contact Municipal Enforcement

If anyone appears to be willfully contravening the Towns' bylaw, anyone can report a resident or a local business who is not in compliance with the bylaw, by calling 403-938-8913.

Alberta Health Service Complaint Form

A complaint can also be submitted to Alberta Health Services with its Public Health Order Violation Form.  

Submit a complaint to AHS


Exemptions

Do people need to show proof that they are exempt from the bylaw?

No proof is required to show you are exempt from wearing a mask before entering an enclosed public space. For a list of allowable exemptions see the FAQ tab.

Enforcement

How will this bylaw be enforced?

The Town of Okotoks is taking a proactive education first approach to the bylaw. Municipal Enforcement Peace Officers will be visiting businesses and providing education to the business operators and the general public.

Municipal Enforcement Peace Officers will issue warnings when necessary. When a warning is not deemed sufficient or for repeat offenders, enforcement of the bylaw can include penalties through ticketing. The Town of Okotoks has applied a set fine (ticket) of:

  • $100 for failing to wear a mask in indoor public places, and
  • $200 for failing to display a sign at indoor public places